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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a disorder of movement, balance, and coordination. CP is caused by problems with how your child's brain formed, or injury to the brain during pregnancy, birth, or early childhood. It is important to get help as early as possible to improve your child's quality of life.
- Medicines are used to decrease muscle spasms, seizures, and movements that your child cannot control.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
Follow up with your child's PHP or specialist as directed:
Your child may need to return for more tests. He may be referred to a physical or speech therapist, or bone and nerve specialists. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Therapy may help your child increase movement and strength, and reduce pain. This may include physical, occupational, or speech therapy, or help from bone and nerve specialists. Therapy will also provide ways for you to care for your child, and encourage him to be as social and independent as possible.
Help your child reach his physical and mental potential:
- Proper nutrition will help keep your child healthy. Specialists may also help your child with swallowing or feeding problems so he can get the nutrients he needs.
- Frequent checkups with your child's PHP or specialist will be needed to monitor your child's growth, development, and general health. This will help find early signs or symptoms of CP. Your child will need regular physical, hearing, and eye exams.
- Support devices such as splints, braces, or a wheelchair may be needed to help your child move around.
- Vaccinations may be needed to prevent the flu and pneumonia. These infections are more dangerous for a child with CP. Ask your child's PHP or specialist for more information.
Contact your child's PHP if:
- Your child is restless or upset as if he is in pain, and he does not improve with medicine.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child is not able to eat or drink.
- Your child has a seizure.
- Your child has sudden trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.