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Health Centre

A Complete Health Checklist

When it is confirmed that a child has cerebral Palsy, the child has to take a complete health check. Any of the following may be possible. Some of them are serious disabilities. Some are nuisance factors that may lead to minor illnesses.

Problem areas
/conditions
Possible Complications Steps to be taken
Respiratory Diseases Due to restricted mobility some may have greater susceptibility to upper respiratory tract diseases. To be treated promptly. Antibiotics may be advised.
Epilepsy and Seizures About 50% of CP children are prone to this. Medication can bring relief.
Feeding Problems Chewing may be difficult. The suck and swallow pattern may continue even after infancy. Chances of aspiration are higher as the larynx may not close in time for the swallow. Food or liquid may enter the lungs. Regurgitation may occur. All this might put the child off feeding. Consult the physician regarding the food consistency best for your child. Minor surgery or insertion of tube can facilitate easier feeding. Nutritional supplements may have to be given.
Drooling Control of saliva may be difficult Temporarily solved by wearing an absorbent bib. Surgery can route the saliva to the throat and control the dripping from the mouth.
Dental When tongue movements are difficult food may get lodged in the teeth. Teeth might be uneven. These might lead to dental problems Brushing after every meal is advised.
Digestion Due to the lack of mobility CP children may get constipated. Plenty of fluids should be given to soften stools. More fibre must be included in the diet to add to the bulk.
Vision Squint and short-sight are common Early detection is possible. An ophthalmologist can tell you if squint needs to be corrected surgically. The child is prescribed spectacles in case of short sight, as soon as she is able to handle it.
Hearing A small percentage of CP children have hearing problems. Must be taken to an ENT for audio test. Must be helped to communicate.
Speech and language problems Because of limited movement of the tongue and the speech organs, articulation might be difficult, though the child’s understanding of language might be normal. Speech therapy must be started as early as possible to help the child communicate better.
Learning disabilities Varies from child to child. The IQ levels vary from normal to borderline to severe retardation. Some are good with language skills but poor at math. Poor attention spans are also observed. Must be assessed and introduced to a special school or teaching programme.
Behavioural Problems Temper tantrums, aggression or repetitive rocking and head banging may be exhibited. Many of these are born out of boredom, frustration, or a seeking of attention. Giving attention and setting achievable but interesting tasks can mitigate these.

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