Cerebral Palsy 101

What She Wore: Long-sleeve, gray LSU shirt; blue jeans; tennis shoes.

What She Ate: Red beans and rice made by yours truly!

I realize that I may have been a little simplistic when I discussed cerebral palsy earlier. I think I should try to explain it a little bit better. Basically, cerebral palsy is the physical manifestation of a brain injury. The brain injury usually occurs before, during, or right after birth. For this reason, it affects a child’s achievement of normal developmental milestones. There are two basic effects–hypertonia, which means muscles are too tight, and hypotonia which means that muscles are too loose.

Now that I’m through with the lesson, I’ll tell you about Charlie’s issues more specifically. Charlie is tight all over. I never really noticed until I saw other babies. His hamstrings in particular are very tight, and this is pretty common. He also has a weak neck, which is also very common. He couldn’t pick up his head at all until he four months old–man, did we celebrate that milestone!

Where I’m headed with all this is to say that Charlie is doing really wonderful. He’s working hard at mastering the sit, we’ve begun working on crawling positions (long-term planning, you know?), and now we’re really working on getting him to play more with his hands. So far, he only thinks that they’re good for chewing on, but last night he had some good times with dad pressing this board that makes noise.

Despite the amazing amount of work that it takes, Charlie is a living, breathing testament to the human spirit. This is a child that they told me was “most likely brain dead.” Now, the Hub and I have real faith that he may walk. There is simply no telling what a person will do–we are all an untold story and it would serve us well not to forget that.

If you’re around during the weekend, please stop by–I’m stressing over the ole hallway and will be looking for opinions/advice.
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  1. Heya Katy,

    I hear you on the cerebal palsy thing. A’s hamstrings were so tight that this last summer he had to have them cut surgically to help with range of motion. He is in botox therapy, not sure what good that is doing, but I am being told it is helping and he doesn’t mind the injections, so I am ok with that, and hey he doesn’t have any wrinkles in his legs! :-) Kids like ours are miracles in the making! Keep up the great work!

  2. I have been blogging for a while. My three year anniversary is coming up this September.

    I have a niece with cerebral palsy. I have to admit that I don’t know much about it except that she has very little motion in her legs. She is a young adult now and doesn’t seem affected except for her legs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    well i think that you guys are doing a gretat job in raising a child without labels…cause really you never know what any of you children are capable of…until you give them the hope and encouragement to get there…

    *~* :o) always remember to be happy… :o) because you never know who is falling in love with your smile… :o) *~*

  4. Well, Charlie has been a fighter from the beginning. It also helps that his parents aren’t quitters. That combination will bring many major achievements and milestones!

  5. I have a question, I hope it’s not stupid, but is the tightness painful to him? Is it 24/7 really tight all the time? I was just wondering. I would hate to think of that beautiful little boy hurting in anyway; he always looks soooo happy. Probably because his parents are so awesome. And, yum, love those red beans and rice! Toni

  6. I love it when our kids show the “professionals” that they don’t always know what they are talking about.

    I don’t think D ever played with her feet, much. She had/has a week trunk. She certainly made up for it by sucking her thumb until it had a huge callous on it.

  7. Small Town Girl says:

    Look at how happy he looks! Love it!! I’m glad you explained that a little more. I wasn’t quite sure what the exact problems were or how they came about, but now I get it. Thanks.

    I wish I could help you out with the hallway situation, but no such luck. I’ve got travels to tend to!! :)

  8. barnyardmama says:

    You ask a good question. Recently, a mother on another site asked adults with CP if spasticity is painful. Typically, they answered no. For Charlie it’s only a real problem when people like mommy, daddy, and the therapists stretch him out. We do that so he doesn’t lose full range of motion.

  9. Charlie looks so happy!!! Thanks for explaining some more, I admit that I don’t know that much about it. It’s so great that you are working with Charlie to make sure he gets to be his full potential!!

  10. Hey Katy!

    I really appreciate you giving me all the information you have! It’s very scary to have your child whisked away so quickly. With Baylee I only cried once, but I was so determined to get out of the hospital right then to go see her. I know they will take very good care of her. And, she could be one of the one’s that has a large Omphalocele. Those look so scary! But, her’s is just medium sized. It will be interesting to see what it looks like during my next 3D ultrasound I will have.

    Charlie looks great! I’m so unfamiliar with CP, but I’m learning a lot from you! I will be praying that he becomes more flexible and less tight!

    Big Hugs to you!

  11. See–what do doctors know anyway? Brain dead my @ss! He’s awesome, and you guys have every right to be super proud. Good work!

  12. Elizabeth says:

    That smile is a gift from God, as is Charlie. Give that boy a kiss for me! :)

  13. :Normal Every Day Life says:

    I know you have probably heard this over and over but…..he is just so darn cute!! You should be extremely proud of your litte boy!! :-)