top of page

Volume 2  Number 3  March 2023

Today's Patient Logo.jpg
POTP Logo transparent.png
the online magazine of 
The National Library of Patient Rights & Advocacy

what you will find inside the March issue ...

Brianna Allison headshot.jpeg

by Bri Allison

Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Welcome to The Monthly Dose
produced by Rayah Hammad and
hosted by Claudine Smith 
Brianna Allison headshot.jpeg
from the desk of the Managing Editor

As we approach spring, we look forward to many exciting projects connected to Today's Patient. We plan to introduce several new books as well as some new initiatives related to the magazine. This issue features a wide range of articles on important topics including eating disorders colorectal cancer, managing anxiety, protecting the skin, and the benefits of green tea. We hope you enjoy this issue and its very fascinating content.

Bri Allison

It's the Perfect Time to Learn CPR

by Bri Allison

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month! With just under one million Americans living with some form of cerebral palsy, and nearly two-thirds of whom are children, it is crucial to learn more about this condition. Seeking information, spreading awareness, and starting conversations can all lead to a better world for those who are differently-abled.

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s mobility and muscle coordination. The person may have a hard time controlling their movements, balance, and posture. CP is caused by abnormal development or damage to the brain. This could occur during fetal development in the womb or as the result of an injury or accident after birth. Cerebral palsy is the “most widespread physical disability in the world affecting millions” and “the most common motor disability in children.”


The neurological disorder is not progressive, meaning symptoms may change but will not worsen over time. Although there is no cure, some individuals with CP may improve their motor skills through different treatments such as physical, occupational, speech, or water therapy to gain strength, medication to help control muscles, or even surgery.


Symptoms of cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy affects each person differently, as each case differs in its severity. Some people with mild CP may have some difficulty walking, but do not require extra assistance. Others with  severe CP may need special equipment to move around and may require lifelong assistance. Because each case is different, symptoms vary depending on what parts of the brain have been damaged. According to The Mayo Clinic, symptoms include:


Movement and coordination

  • Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity), the most common movement disorder

  • Variations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy

  • Stiff muscles with normal reflexes (rigidity)

  • Lack of balance and muscle coordination (ataxia)

  • Tremors or jerky involuntary movements

  • Slow, writhing movements

  • Favoring one side of the body, such as only reaching with one hand or dragging a leg while crawling

  • Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors-like gait with knees crossing, a wide gait, or an asymmetrical gait

  • Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning clothes or picking up utensils


Speech and eating

  • Delays in speech development

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Difficulty with sucking, chewing or eating

  • Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing



  • Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as sitting up or crawling

  • Learning difficulties

  • Intellectual disabilities

  • Delayed growth, resulting in smaller size than would be expected


Types of cerebral palsy

There are four main types of cerebral palsy, which is differentiated by the function and movement of different parts of the body. The types are:


  • Spastic (stiff muscles) – This is the most common type of CP.  Spastic CP is then broken down into 3 forms:

    • Spastic diplegia/diparesis: With this form of CP, the person’s leg muscles are stiff which affects their ability to walk. Their hip and leg muscles are tight and cause the “legs to pull together, turn inward, and cross at the knees (also known as scissoring).” With this type of CP, the arms are either affected less or not affected at all.

    • Spastic hemiplegia/hemiparesis: For someone with this form of CP, only one side of their body is affected– usually, their arm is more affected than their leg.

    • Spastic quadriplegia/quadriparesis: This form of CP is the most severe and affects both arms, both legs, the trunk of the body, and the face. With this type of CP, the person is usually not able to walk and “often have other developmental disabilities such as intellectual disability; seizures; or problems with vision, hearing, or speech.”


  • Dyskinetic (writhing movements) – This form of CP also includes athetoid, choreoathetoid, and dystonic cerebral palsy. Someone with dyskinetic CP has difficulty controlling the movement of their hands, feet, arms, or legs making it hard to sit or walk. Their movements may be slow, uncontrollable, and/or shaky. The person’s face and tongue may also be affected. Some can even have issues “hearing, controlling their breathing, and/or coordinating the muscle movements required for speaking.”


  • Ataxic (poor balance and coordination) – A person with this form of CP has issues with their depth perception and balance. They may be unsteady when they walk and have problems with quick movements or ones that need precise control.


  • Mixed type – This is a combination of any of the other types of CP. The person’s symptoms might not correspond to just one form, but multiple.


Be a cerebral palsy advocate!

According to Birth Injury Justice Center and Cerebral Palsy Guide, here are a few ways to support those impacted by cerebral palsy:


  • Take time to educate yourself about cerebral palsy– research online, read books, talk to those with cerebral palsy to learn their story, etc.

  • Be conscious and respectful of the language that you use

  • Wear the color green throughout March! Green is “associated with growth, vibrancy, and renewal of life.”

  • Share your pictures wearing green with #GoGreen4CP to raise awareness on social media

  • Donate to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation

  • Learn how to address your child's questions and fears compassionately

Brianna Allison headshot.jpeg

Brianna Allison graduated from Duquesne University with a Bachelor’s degree in Multiplatform Journalism and one in Public Relations. Brianna has a strong passion for storytelling and loves being a part of a media-enriched environment. She has worked in broadcast journalism, social media, and print journalism in the past. In addition to role as Managing Editor of Today's Patient, Bri is a member of the broadcast team for The Power of the Patient Project, 

March 2023 page 1

copyright 2023 by The Power of the Patient Project

bottom of page