Today is the FIRST World Cerebral Palsy Day. Today is a day to raise awareness about the number 1 motor control disability in childhood. It is estimated that 1 in 303 children in the US have CP, and yet the average person does not know what Cerebral Palsy is. And two years ago, I was that person when my son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
I'll never forget the moment when I was standing in the neurologist's exam room trying not to be annoyed that my appointment was running very behind, while listening to the doctor, while trying to calm my screaming child calm. The doctor was asking me questions that I had already answered on my form or was in Mark's medical file and my temper was running out of rope. (yes he was born at 30 weeks, yes he's a twin, no he cannot sit up, no he cannot hold a toy, why the fudge can't you read?) And then the doctor said very matter of fact "well it looks like your son is exhibiting early warning signs of Cerebral Palsy." Just so you know my heart almost stopped in that moment.
I didn't know exactly what Cerebral Palsy was, but I did know that it wasn't good news. And I cannot tell you how stupid I felt whwn I had to ask the doctor "um what is Cerebral Palsy" all while trying not to cry. So here are a few facts about Cerebral Palsy in case you don't know exactly what it is either.
- Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.
- CP is the most common motor disability in childhood.
- CP does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change over a person's lifetime.
- There is no cure for CP, but treatment can improve the lives of those who have the condition.
- CP is caused by abnormal development of the brain or damage to the developing brain that affects a child’s ability to control his or her muscles.
We are now 2 years down the Cerebral Palsy journey and I can speak on the subject so well that I could pose as an expert. Mark has benefited from intense therapy that began in the NICU and continued therapy with Early Intervention at 4 months old. He is walking, running, climbing a little, talking clearly enough that most people can understand him, and learning how to throw and catch balls. I cannot believe his amazing progress and I am extremely thankful for it!
I'm linking up today with other bloggers who are affected by Cerebral Palsy. Head over and read some of their stories.