Sunday 6 October is World Cerebral Palsy Day. To help raise awareness and spread information on the condition, we are sharing some details about Cerebral Palsy (CP) which might surprise you.

1.       Cerebral palsy is not as rare as some people think. In fact, it is the most common physical disability in childhood. One in seven hundred babies is diagnosed with CP in Australia, or approximately one Australian child born every fifteen hours.

2.       Currently there are approximately 34,000 people in Australia who are living with cerebral palsy. This number is expected to increase to more than 47,600 in the next three decades.

3.       There is no known cure for CP. It is a permanent, life-long physical disability that affects movement and posture. It can also affect a person’s ability to eat, learn, communicate and balance properly. While more research is needed to determine a cure, there are medications, surgeries, treatments and therapies than can be effective in helping patients deal with their condition. While some children with CP may require a disability support worker or home care services, most can expect a normal life span.

4.       Approximately one in five children with CP also have a sleep disorder, while roughly one in ten has a severe vision impairment.

5.       People with CP are still intelligent, aware and capable of companionship and employment even though they may have difficulties moving or communicating.

6.       English surgeon W J Little first referenced cerebral palsy as a medical condition in 1862.

7.       Cerebral palsy is not contagious, and is not hereditary or passed from one generation to the next.

8.       Males are at greater risk of having CP than females. Of those of who have CP, roughly fifty-seven per cent are male and forty-three per cent female.

9.       There is a character with cerebral palsy on the iconic American TV Series Breaking Bad. The role of Walter ‘Flynn’ White Jnr is played by American actor, producer and model RJ Mitte – who also recently starred in the Australian rom-com Standing Up for Sunny at the Sydney Film Festival.

10.   The exact cause is unknown for most people with CP, and is related to damage to the developing brain either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.

11.   There is more than one type of CP, it can affect different parts of the body and the severity of it varies from person to person. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term encompassing different motor types such as Spastic, which is the most common type where muscles appear stiff and tight, Ataxic which is characterised by shaky movements and Dyskinetic, which is identified by involuntary movements. Some children with CP have a combination of different types.

12.   The term cerebral palsy comes from ‘cerebral’ meaning ‘of the brain’ and ‘palsy’ meaning ‘weakness or lack of muscle control’.

If someone close to you has Cerebral Palsy or any other condition which requires some additional support, Like Family can help. Like Family is a registered NDIS provider, offering companionship and personalised non-medical care throughout New South Wales to those who need help due to disability, ageing or illness – improving their wellbeing, building their sense of independence and generating a few friendships along the way! Sign up now to be matched with a Social Carer in your local area who shares the same interests as you or your loved one.