Contrary to many people’s beliefs, children with cerebral palsy or other disabilities can live a full life especially with early intervention. We demystify some of the popular myths on cerebral Palsy.
Myth: People with cerebral palsy (CP) have mental retardation.
Fact: Only a small percentage of those with cerebral palsy will also have mental retardation. In fact, most individuals with CP have gifted levels of intelligence.
Myth: People with cerebral palsy cannot speak clearly or understand what people say and cannot follow directions.
Fact: Even though those with cerebral palsy sometimes do not speak clearly, they can still understand when other people speak and also intellectually follow directions. Most children with cerebral palsy are very intelligent.
Myth: Cerebral palsy is contagious.
Fact: Cerebral palsy is not contagious.
Myth: Cerebral palsy does not appear in later life.
Fact: Cerebral palsy can appear in later life due to infections (meningitis, encephalitis) or due to severe head injury.
Myth: Cerebral palsy is treatable/curable.
Fact: Cerebral palsy is not curable because the disorder is caused by irreversible brain damage. However, the physical effects of the brain damage can be treated. Managing the disorder takes precedence in this case. Experts focus on helping the child gain as much independence as possible to be able to manage daily activities.
Myth: Cerebral palsy is a degenerative disorder.
Fact: Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive, non-degenerative disorder. That is, damage caused to the brain will not worsen with time. However, the symptoms may occur slowly, and there may be developmental delays.
Myth: Only injury during birth causes cerebral palsy.
Fact: Cerebral palsy may be caused due to birth injury or birth defect. A birth injury occurs when an infant’s brain is damaged due to lack of oxygen during labor and delivery. A birth defect is the damage caused to the foetus due to various factors such as maternal infections or genetic malformations. Congenital cerebral palsy is caused due to brain damage that happens before or during birth.
Myths: People with Cerebral Palsy use wheelchair
Fact: Although there are people with severe cerebral palsy who are confined to a wheelchair, there are numerous others who can walk and run without any assistance. Cerebral palsy can be extremely mild to extremely severe, and anywhere in between.
Myth: Everyone with cerebral palsy has a learning disability.
Fact: While some people with CP can have learning disabilities many others with CP do not.
Myth: People with CP should not be allowed to get married and have kids.
Fact: Many people with CP have gotten married and have had kids.
Myth: People with cerebral palsy are being punished for their sins.
Fact: Disability is usually due to a medical or physiological cause and not
Myth: People with cerebral palsy should not be employed or cannot do a job
Fact: People with cerebral palsy are just like any other person only that they have a disability. They desire to prove themselves and should be given an opportunity.
Myth: People with cerebral palsy should go to special schools
Fact: Nowadays governments and human rights organization stress upon inclusive education, which means educating children with and without disabilities together in mainstream schools. Children with CP can be educated in normal school setups with some help and this improves a lot in their overall personality.
Myth: Someone with Cerebral palsy can never be self-dependent.
Fact: With good rehab, therapy & medical measures at an early age nearly 80 percent of people with CP can become self-dependent. Sometimes they need the support of walking aid. Those with cerebral palsy can have a fully ambulatory life.
Myth: Cerebral palsy persons cannot mingle with others in the society.
Fact: Given the opportunity, these persons have more potential to move, mingle and become a normal part of society.