Mild cerebral palsy refers to motor deficits induced by minor brain injury during development. Motor impairments may go unnoticed in the early years of childhood because the harm is not as severe. However, motor abnormalities in children with moderate cerebral palsy may become more evident as they grow. Fortunately, it is never too late to make a full recovery. Individuals with cerebral palsy can improve their movements even as adults.

Signs of Mild Cerebral Palsy

Different factors can influence how moderate cerebral palsy affects movement. Many children’s symptoms are so modest that motor deficits are not visible until the youngster starts moving around on purpose. The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) is frequently used to determine the severity of a person’s cerebral palsy. It is divided into five levels, with level 1 being the mildest and 5 being the most severe. GMFCS level 1 is frequently assigned to people with mild cerebral palsy. These people can usually walk and do their daily activities without assistance. Mild CP might be unrecognized and, as a result, untreated for years since they can maintain their independence. However, it is critical to understand the symptoms of mild CP in order to prevent complications from developing. Mild cerebral palsy symptoms include:

  • Abnormal walking: Walking on the toes, walking on the heels, constant knee bending, walking with toes pointed inside or outwards, mild limping, and so on.
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills: Writing is an example of a skill that requires precision and agility.
  • Speech impairments: speech slurring, breathiness, or inability to speak (associated with non-verbal cerebral palsy)
  • Slow movements/low muscle tone: Children with low muscle tone may move slowly, have little strength and have poor head and trunk control.
  • Stiff movements/high muscle tone: Children with excessive muscular tone (a disease known as spasticity) may exhibit stiff, rigid motions.
  • Poor balance and coordination: particularly if the cerebellum has been damaged (associated with ataxic cerebral palsy)
  • Poor posture: such as leaning/tilting to one side, rounded shoulders, or standing with bent knees
  • Tremors: movements that are involuntary, rhythmic, or oscillatory

Now that you know what indications to watch for let’s talk about the necessity of early intervention.

The Importance of Early Intervention

While the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy does not worsen over time, secondary consequences (such as altered muscle tone and chronic discomfort) can. As a result, early management is critical for preventing secondary issues from developing. When a child grows up with untreated mild cerebral palsy, motor deficits have a long time to develop. They may acquire maladaptive movement habits as a result. Children with cerebral palsy may learn to walk and perform other daily activities with aberrant muscle tone, but they may not grasp what it’s like to go about daily life without it. As a result, replacing these habits can be more difficult. Dr Karen Pape, a top CP neuroscientist, says in her book that if you ask a child with moderate cerebral palsy to walk in the correct form, they will usually be able to demonstrate their capacity to do so. However, individuals swiftly revert to their prior gait pattern out of habit. The only way to replace this habit is for your youngster to practice walking in the correct form regularly. This improves neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to develop adaptive changes. Children’s brains have higher levels of neuroplasticity than adults’ brains. As a result, it’s critical to employ these enhanced levels of neuroplasticity to help people with mild CP improve their motor capabilities before maladaptive movement patterns cause further issues. The sooner children’s motor deficits are addressed, the faster and easier it is for them to develop new movement patterns that can replace the maladaptive ones. This is true for walking and other tasks that a child’s cerebral palsy has impaired, such as running, speaking, or writing. It’s also vital to remember that the brain never runs out of neuroplasticity, so there’s always room for improvement. Following that, we’ll go over numerous therapies that may be used to treat moderate cerebral palsy.