Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that affects motor development. The condition may be brought on by abnormal development in the womb, or via birth injuries linked to medical
negligence – see cerebral palsy lawyer Billings for more info.
Children with the condition usually begin to show symptoms shortly before the age of 12 months, although ‘mixed cerebral palsy’ (a condition that includes symptoms of all three major
types of cerebral palsy) may be diagnosed up to the age of around 4 years. Although major muscle groups are typically affected (presenting difficulty in the deliberate use of the limbs),
smaller muscle groups may also be affected. Where the muscles in the mouth and face do not respond to signals from the brain in the normal way, difficulties with eating, drinking, and speech
Speech problems may include:
Issues with articulation
Where the muscles in the face, head, and neck experience stiffness or weakness, the ability to form syllables may be diminished.
Issues with flow or fluency
Ongoing attempts to regain control of the muscles responsible for speech may lead to breaks in speech, meaning a disrupted flow and problem with being understood.
Issues with the sound of the voice
The vocal cords rely on muscles to pull the chords into the shapes that allow the formation of sounds that we recognise as speech. Cerebral palsy can therefore lead to issues with pitch and volume.
The muscles in the tongue and the muscles in the face that control the lips may only allow limited or intermittent movements, resulting in delayed or slurred speech.
How speech therapy can improve quality of life
Speech therapy should not be thought of as a series of exercises designed specifically to improve speech and speech alone. Instead, speech therapy should be considered as a means
of strengthening the muscles in the face, neck, throat, head, and tongue. Therefore, the benefits of speech therapy are far reaching in terms of improving day to day living conditions in children
(and adults) with cerebral palsy.
Benefits of speech therapy include:
● Ability to form syllables and recognisable words
● Ability to regulate the pitch and volume of the voice
● Ability to articulate feelings and desires (reducing stress and frustration)
● Ability to maintain focus and participate in a communication thread
● Improved ability to chew and swallow
Speech therapy ultimately builds confidence and leads to new levels of independence. This often leads to a greater desire to interact with others, eliminating any feelings of loneliness or
depression that may result from living with symptoms of cerebral palsy.
Carla is the founder of MyBump2Baby. Carla has a huge passion for linking together small businesses and growing families. Carla’s humorous, non-filtered honesty has won the hearts of thousands of parents throughout the UK.
She has previously written for the Metro and made appearances on BBC News, BBC 5 live, LBC etc. Carla is a finalist for Blogger of the Year award with Simply Ladies inc. Carla is also the host of the popular Fifty Shades of Motherhood podcast and The MyBump2Baby Expert podcast.