Reflecting on 2014, Looking Forward with Hope

As we enter into the new year, I would like to take a look back on 2014. For me, the last two years have brought a lot of personal growth. There was one major positive change in 2014, during the spring of last year, when my sister and her daughter moved in with me. It was a big adjustment for all of us, but quite possibly one of the best things that could have happened. Also, I made new friends last year as well. They treat me just as they would anyone else and have affirmed just as many others have for me, that being around positive people brings out positivity in you!

What am I most thankful for this year, as with every year, is family and friends. They keep me going and are the biggest reason (aside from my Faith) as to why I always have such a positive outlook on life. Even when things were not great last year, I always reminded myself that everything would be ok no matter the outcome. There is always something positive in everything that we endure in life. We just have to look for it. It is when we choose to only see the negative side of things that we receive a negative outcome.

Meeting A New Challenge

One of the biggest changes for everyone was my sister and her daughter moving in. After much discussion we decided this decision would be the best for both of us. I would have someone around and also have other help I needed, and she would have the help she needed in having someone to care for her daughter while she worked. What I have learned through this change most of all is not just how different we are as people, but how well we come together and make it all work out for the good. I learned that we deal with situations differently and that is okay. I learned that I am able to keep calm in very high stress situations. I attribute that to having to deal with the many challenges that my cerebral palsy throws my way every day.

Continuing Positivity

In 2015, I want to continue to be positive. I also want to bring about more awareness through my writing for CPFN as well as on my personal blog. I also plan to be more aware of when I am worrying about mindless things. Those who know me personally know I do this often. We all know what happens when we worry. We are just wasting energy and time knowing nine times out of ten what we are worrying about is not even going to happen. We just get all worked up for nothing. I want to learn to focus that worry elsewhere, looking for something good, and knowing that I will be taken care of.

I want to wish everyone at CPFN a wonderful 2015 full of happiness and blessings! I hope to get to know more people/families involved with CPFN. I hope that we can all help one another be positive in everything in the year to come. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead!

I would also like to include a link to one of my posts on my personal blog about positivity. Enjoy!

Staying Positive in the Midst of A Storm

 

Reflecting on 2014, Looking Forward with Hope

Crystal McClure talks about a New Year with Cerebral Palsy

By Crystal McClure

As we enter into the new year, I would like to take a look back on 2014. For me, the last two years have brought a lot of personal growth. There was one major positive change in 2014, during the spring of last year, when my sister and her daughter moved in with me. It was a big adjustment for all of us, but quite possibly one of the best things that could have happened. Also, I made new friends last year as well. They treat me just as they would anyone else and have affirmed just as many others have for me, that being around positive people brings out positivity in you!

What am I most thankful for this year, as with every year, is family and friends. They keep me going and are the biggest reason (aside from my Faith) as to why I always have such a positive outlook on life. Even when things were not great last year, I always reminded myself that everything would be ok no matter the outcome. There is always something positive in everything that we endure in life. We just have to look for it. It is when we choose to only see the negative side of things that we receive a negative outcome.

Meeting A New Challenge

One of the biggest changes for everyone was my sister and her daughter moving in. After much discussion we decided this decision would be the best for both of us. I would have someone around and also have other help I needed, and she would have the help she needed in having someone to care for her daughter while she worked. What I have learned through this change most of all is not just how different we are as people, but how well we come together and make it all work out for the good. I learned that we deal with situations differently and that is okay. I learned that I am able to keep calm in very high stress situations. I attribute that to having to deal with the many challenges that my cerebral palsy throws my way every day.

Continuing Positivity

In 2015, I want to continue to be positive. I also want to bring about more awareness through my writing for CPFN as well as on my personal blog. I also plan to be more aware of when I am worrying about mindless things. Those who know me personally know I do this often. We all know what happens when we worry. We are just wasting energy and time knowing nine times out of ten what we are worrying about is not even going to happen. We just get all worked up for nothing. I want to learn to focus that worry elsewhere, looking for something good, and knowing that I will be taken care of.

I want to wish everyone at CPFN a wonderful 2015 full of happiness and blessings! I hope to get to know more people/families involved with CPFN. I hope that we can all help one another be positive in everything in the year to come. I cannot wait to see what lies ahead! I would also like to include a link to one of my posts on my personal blog about positivity. Enjoy! Staying Positive in the Midst of A Storm

Spastic Diplegia – Overview and Considerations for Children

Spastic diplegia is a form of cerebral palsy that primarily affects the legs, hips, and pelvis. Arms can also be affected, but to a lesser degree. Considered a less severe form of cerebral palsy, children born with spastic diplegia usually have average to slightly below average intelligence and language skills. Most also learn to walk, although it may come late, but usually by age 8.

People with this form of cerebral palsy will have a distinct scissoring gait, in which the legs cross over each other in a stiff, scissoring pattern.

Causes of Spastic Diplegia

Overall, the most common cause of spastic diplegia is periventricular leukomalacia, more commonly known as neonatal asphyxia, a sudden shortage of oxygen delivered through the umbilical cord, combined with premature birth. The presence of certain maternal infections during pregnancy can also lead to spastic diplegia, since such infections can have similar effects to infant hypoxia. This lack of oxygen damages areas of the brain associated with movement.

Diagnosis

Since the disorder is frequently associated with birth trauma before, during, or shortly after delivery or prematurity, an infant can be assessed at birth as high risk. The type or severity of cerebral palsy may not be known for some months or even years depending on extent of the brain damage.

Because spastic diplegic cerebral palsy is primarily associated with movement of the legs, a diagnosis frequently comes when a child starts showing signs of not meeting developmental milestones for walking. This occurs usually between the ages of 18 months and three years.

Before this time, an infant’s legs may seem stiff, or may start out unusually floppy and gradually stiffen. The cause of this stiffness or floppiness is muscle tone, which has to do with the ability of muscle groups to lengthen and contract to produce movement. Too much muscle tone is called hypertonia, and too little is called hypotonia.

Some spastic diplegic cerebral palsy is so mild that people with the disorder report only minor problems with balance and gait.

Treatments for Spastic Diplegia

Treatment for spastic diplegia focuses on physical therapy to strengthen and retain range of motion; braces or other devices to direct bone development; and surgery, for older children, to lengthen muscles and ease muscle contractures. Massage can begin in infancy to help relax stiff muscles. Medications, such as intrathecal baclofen, are also available to help relax muscles and ease pain associated with contractures. For more information about treatments for spastic cerebral palsy, visit Cerebral Palsy Family Network.

Surgical Considerations

Orthopedic surgery is often recommended when spasticity and stiffness are severe enough to make walking and moving difficult or painful, and to smooth an awkward gait.

Before surgery occurs, doctors must determine which among the 30 major muscles involved in walking are causing the problem. Doctors today use a computerized diagnostic technique known as gait analysis to guide them in making surgical decisions. Gait analysis uses cameras that record how an individual walks, force plates that detect how the feet land, a test called electromyography that records muscle activity, and a computer program that gathers and analyzes the data. Using this information, doctors can precisely locate which muscles would benefit from surgery and how much improvement in gait can be expected.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the timing of orthopedic surgery is now based on the child’s age and motor development. For example, spasticity in the upper leg muscles (the adductors), which causes the “scissor pattern” walk, is a major obstacle to normal gait. The optimal age to correct this spasticity with adduction release surgery is between 2 and 4 years of age. However, the best time to perform surgery to lengthen the hamstrings or Achilles tendon is between 7 and 8 years of age. Today, most of these surgical procedures can be done on an outpatient basis or with a short inpatient stay. Children usually return to their normal activities within a week.

Selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) is a surgical procedure recommended only for cases of severe spasticity when all other standard treatments have failed to reduce spasticity or chronic pain. In the procedure, a surgeon locates and selectively severs nerves at the base of the spinal column.

The Child with Spastic Diplegia

According to Living with Cerebral Palsy, children with spastic diplegia may:

  • Crawl using a commando-type movement (pulling themselves around by their forearms with legs dragging behind), or may skip crawling altogether.
  • Prefer sitting in a W position between 1 and 3 years of age. Therapists may recommend other positions, such as sitting cross-legged, and child-size chairs, to help develop good sitting postures and avoid hip and gait problems.
  • Need a program to promote standing postures, if, by age 2 ½ the child is not pulling to a stand. This may include ankle-foot braces (AFOs) and prone type standers. Regularly standing an hour or two a day can improve balance, and stimulate the normal development of bones and joints in the legs. Standing programs are only recommended for children with severe involvement.
  • Require ankle braces to prevent toe-walking or rolling in of the feet. These can be low profile braces that can be hidden by clothes or shoes. Long leg braces and knee braces are almost never needed for children with diplegia.
  • Need regular hip exams and x-rays at age 2 for spastic hip disease, which can lead to hip dislocation. This condition can cause arthritis and pain as the child grows. The process of gradual dislocation is called subluxation of the hip.
  • Need to concentrate on regular physical therapy between the ages of 4 and 6, and then switch the focus to cognitive issues when the child starts school. For a child with mild diplegia, replacing therapy with other physical activities, such as swimming, dance class, karate, or horseback riding, is a good idea because the child’s interest will keep her active in developing her motor skills.
  • Be able to walk only short distances.

 

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