Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders known for their effects on the muscles. Because of those effects, mobility is almost always an issue for people who suffer with this condition. If one of your family members suffers with CP or if your child is diagnosed with CP, here are some facts that will help you to understand these effects and what they mean for the person with CP.
Balance is Difficult
People who have full control over their muscles aren’t readily aware of how hard bipedal locomotion really is. Every second that you’re on your feet, your brain and your muscles are compensating for constantly changing conditions so that you stay upright and balanced. If you have CP, your muscle tone is affected in a way that makes this balancing very difficult. This is why many people with CP have a very shaky gait and trouble standing for long periods of time.
Assistive Devices Are Oftentimes Needed
Even if someone with CP isn’t in a wheelchair full time, they still usually need some sort of assistive device. These devices include crutches and walkers; sometimes a cane will suffice. It takes time to learn how to use these devices and, in the case of crutches, to develop the upper body strength to balance yourself properly. It’s easy to pick up a pair of crutches and try them for a few minutes and to feel like it’s not that difficult, but try using them for an entire day and you’ll see that it can get exhausting.
See the World Differently
Able-bodied people who end up breaking a leg or having some other type of accident that reduces their mobility for a while are usually quite surprised to see how hard it is to get around if you don’t have full use of your legs. Understand that people with CP deal with a lot as far as getting around is concerned (like learning how to use assistive devices, learning which grocery stores, retail shops, banks and other facilities are the most-accessible).
Assistive devices are expensive and mobility impairments can affect your ability to get work and to enjoy life in general. This can have real financial consequences on top of all of the other problems that impaired mobility causes.