If you want to know more indepth information on all aspects here is the Wikipedia link on Cerebral Palsy
But on this page I will describe to you Liam's Cerebral Palsy experience.
We discovered Liam wasn't hitting his milestones by 3 to 6 months, such as attempting to roll over, or reaching for toys/objects. He had what they call a 'squint', his eyes would 'go crossed'. Liam also had a very shrill scream/cry that could go for hours! I just knew something wasn't right. When we saw the community nurse she agreed there was something amiss and that we needed to see our local paediatrician.
The paediatrician sent Liam to get a CT scan after reviewing him and seeing that he had low muscle tone. And here I was thinking "do I need to take him to the gym?". Well after Liam had the scan our paed showed us the results on the light board... There was a big black mass in the middle of his brain, which our Doctor pointed to and said there is the brain damage. This brain damage occured at the time of his birth. He sent us to the Neurologist who gave Liam an MRI to confirm that the damage was done during the birth process, although she hastened to add that he had low blood sugars in the first few hours of life so that my Type 1 Diabetes was to blame! WTF!!??!! Well I know for a fact that couldn't possibly be part of the cause as my other two children did not experience hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars) in their first hours and I looked after myself just as vigilantly in all pregnancies. I guess hospitals don't like to own up to making huge mistakes while they are 'looking after' patients.... anyway that's another story for another time or page..
After we got the official diagnosis it was full on therapy for Liam and myself. We had to go through Speech Therapy, Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. It was our life, as well as attending a wonderful Early Intervention Playgroup who made my life feel 'normal'. We learnt about muscle tone, standing frames, stretches, massage, positioning... we also learnt that Liam's Cerebral Palsy didn't just affect his limbs and his speech, but his bowels were becoming affected as well and gastrointestinal reflux had Liam become a vomiting machine.... puking more than once a day just became the 'norm'. Luckily we have a good team of Doctors and Therapists who have helped us deal with a lot of these problems and have made Liam's life much more comfortable. He vomits very rarely now thanks to 'Losec'. 'Movicol' does wonders for his bowel habits. 'Baclofen' helps relax his muscles as he becomes 'spastic' (stiff in the muscles) when he attempts to do things, if he didn't have a muscle relaxant his arms and legs would just become 'board like' and he wouldn't be able to do what he is trying to do.
The thing is when they give you the diagnosis they really can't tell you what your child will be capable of in the future... So I like to think the sky is the limit *insert winky face here*.
I just feel so lucky to have Liam... he almost died in the first day of life and so I am grateful to see his beamy smile everyday.