What Cerebral Palsy Isn’t

There are so many misconceptions around Cerebral Palsy, also known as CP for ease of reference. There’s a saying that goes, “Assumption is the lowest form of communication” … very true! So before you assume things about people with CP, let’s set the record straight about what CP is NOT.

CP is not a disease. It’s a neurological disorder that affects muscle tone, movement and motor skills. Most people with CP are healthy and are able to participate in hobbies and forms of employment. CP is not contagious! You can’t ‘catch’ it, so feel free to extend a warm handshake or a friendly hug to someone with CP!

CP doesn’t worsen over time. This condition is as a result of a one-time brain injury or a malformation while a child’s brain was developing. It does not cause further degeneration as time goes by, although symptoms could fluctuate at times, or the disorder may get more noticeable. Contrary to the fact that CP is a condition in which the brain is affected, not everyone with CP has cognitive issues. Many people with CP have normal mental functioning. (Around 30-50% of sufferers have cognitive limitations). CP presents as individually as the person with the condition. In some people there is only mild impairment. In others, the symptoms are severe. It is so important for proper assessment to be done, in order for the individual with CP to receive appropriate care and therapy.

Not everyone with CP is in a wheelchair. While some people are severely affected and cannot do without a wheelchair, others may only have one limb that is affected, or one side of the body. CP is not a hereditary condition. While there are hereditary factors that could raise the risk of an individual being born with the disease, it doesn’t mean that if one sibling has CP, the next sibling will also be diagnosed with it.

There is currently no known cure for CP. However, it is manageable. Occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and even music therapy all play a vital role in helping people with CP reach their full potential, and promote improved quality of life. A good support structure is vital. At Forest Farm we take care to focus on various activities and therapies in order to help our residents to live enriching lives to the max. We also take time to understand exactly what the individual’s limitations are.

This is our calling; it’s what we love to do.