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Symptoms of cerebral palsy usually appear by the time a child is 2 years old.

Symptoms of cerebral palsy usually appear by the time a child is 2 years old.
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Living with cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy cannot be cured, but a lot can be done to help people with the condition.

Children, in particular, can benefit from the services of a team of health professionals to help with:

  • mobility
  • speech, seeing and hearing
  • eating and drinking
  • pain
  • learning
  • control of bladder and bowel
  • emotional wellbeing.

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can help with everyday tasks like sitting, walking, dressing and using the toilet. They may suggest casts, splints or orthotics, and give you exercises to help strengthen muscles. As well as expert advice, they can help with equipment such as walking frames, wheelchairs and modified shoes.

Medicines such as botox or diazepam may be able to help relax stiff or overactive muscles, reducing pain and improving mobility. There are special braces to help with muscle imbalance, and surgery and mechanical aids to help overcome other impairments. You might also need medicines if you have epilepsy, pain, sleep or eating disorders due to the cerebral palsy.

There are also experts who can help with learning, communication and emotional issues that are often experienced by people with cerebral palsy.

Particular issues for adults

Adults with cerebral palsy who work may find that their working conditions need to change, with flexible hours, more rest time and changes to the physical environment. Mobility can be an issue especially in doing simple transfers say from bed to sitting. An assessment of the environment by an occupational therapist may help enable a person to get around any disabling issues.

Sexuality can also be an issue. Find out more about sex and disability.

Last reviewed: November 2016

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