Like Beyoncé, but without the beat, the music video, or the residual paychecks.
People are always anxious to label disability; either they have to label it or try to avoid it at all costs.
Even though each case of Cerebral Palsy is unique to the individual there are different types of CP and different ways it can effect a person.
For example: I have SDCP, which stands for Spastic Diplegic Cerebral Palsy.
The most common motor type of CP is Spastic but it can also be Ataxic, Dyskinetic, or a mixture of types.
Diplegia (or bilateral) means that my CP mostly effects my legs, but it can have an effect on my arms if my legs are working hard enough. It’s like the spasticity in my muscles needs somewhere to go.
-CP can also be Quadriplegic, effecting all for limbs as well as other parts of the body.
-Hemiplegic or unilateral, effecting one side of the body, the left arm & leg (or right).
-CP can also be monoplegic, effecting one limb of the body, although that’s less common (I think).
Everyone with CP, or at least most of them, is given a label, or rather level, of 1-5 on the Gross Motor Functional Classification System (or GMFCS for short), which scores gross motor skills.
I’m a GMFCS level 2.
Many people with CP have no other impairments or conditions.
I’m lucky in that I don’t have any other comorbidities, or at least any of the big ones.
But many, usually individuals with more complex cases of CP have do have other conditions, like Epilepsy, Mental Illness, Cognitive Delays, Learning Disabilities, Chronic Pain, Visual and/or Hearing Impairments.
I do have vision issues, learning disabilities, and issues with pain. However, I got pretty lucky compared to many of my peers.
There’s also something called the Functional Mobility Scale (or FMS) which different mobility related tasks are given a score of 1-6, C, or N. 1 is Uses a Wheelchair & 6 is Independent on All Surfaces; C = crawls for mobility & N = Does Not Apply.
While the FMS is used mainly for children my mobility can usually be scored as 6 = Independent on All Surfaces, 5 = Independent on Level Services (but may need additional support on uneven surfaces), or 1 = Uses a Wheelchair, depending on the situation. This may seem like an odd mix but I assure you I have my reasons for not using walking aides like a cane or crutches.
So there you go, a basic crash course on Cerebral Palsy and its most common labels (and how they apply to yours truly). I’m sure I didn’t cover everything and what I did cover I probably could’ve been more detailed.