Young people with cerebral palsy told us that they would find it useful to have information about cerebral palsy for young people, because they were tired of having to explain themselves all the time.

Cerebral palsy: the facts

  • In the UK about 150 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy every month.
  • People with cerebral palsy have it all their lives as it is caused by injury to the brain.
  • The brain injury doesn't get worse but the effects of cerebral palsy may increase with age.

Cerebral palsy affects people differently.

"It’s hard to write and draw as I have difficulty controlling my hands.” Eoin

"Noisy places make thinking harder.” Leo

"My speech can be difficult to understand because the muscles around my throat are affected. But I have plenty to say!" Jabe

How does cerebral palsy affect your body?

"I use a wheelchair when I have to go further, but this keeps me independent just like my friends." Jhon

  • Some people may use a wheelchair or other equipment to help them move around.
  • It can make it difficult to judge where steps and spaces start and finish.
  • People can be more emotional and panicky or find it difficult to switch off and relax.

How does cerebral palsy affect your brain?

  • Injury to the brain normally occurs while it is developing, from before birth right up to age 5.
  • When the brain is damaged, the messages it sends to different parts of the body get jumbled up or lost.
  • This can affect movement, learning, speaking and every part of the way the body works.

How does cerebral palsy affect talking?

  • Talking can be difficult, because muscles in the throat can be affected.
  • Some people use a communication aid to help them speak. This means they may need more time to respond.
  • If you don't understand, ask someone to repeat what they are saying. They won't mind.

How does cerebral palsy affect learning?

  • Around a third of people with cerebral palsy find things difficult to understand.
  • It can make abstract ideas like letters and numbers trickier.
  • Cerebral palsy can make it harder for sensory information, like light or sound, to get to the brain.

How does cerebral palsy affect your muscles?

  • The muscles have to work harder so people may get tired more easily.
  • Pain and spasms in people's muscles may disturb their sleep.
  • It can make speaking, chewing and swallowing difficult. Some people may dribble or need food pureed.

Check out this blog about business cards by Harry, from Doncaster, who has cerebral palsy. We hope it will give people an idea about how to make their own versions that are individual to their own condition if they feel this would be useful too.

You might also like CP Teens UK - a website for teenagers and young people with cerebral palsy.

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