The authors in this chapter highlights the reality of cerebral palsy in Malaysia. The chapter is a blend experiential account and factual details. The experiential fragment includes a personal case study, providing 32 years’ worth of experience and first-hand details on the life of a cerebral palsy individual in Malaysia. The factual fragment provides researched information on the general reality of cerebral palsy in Malaysia, which includes regulations, existing services and support systems, ergonomics, awareness, and inclusion. This chapter also includes an interview with a fellow CP individual. The chapter ends with an interesting take-home message that aims to encourage and motivate those negatively affected.
WHAT IS CEREBRAL PALSY?
Most people are probably familiar with the term Cerebral Palsy (CP). However, not everyone is familiar with the etiological concept of CP and how an individual with CP is affected. Therefore before delving any further, let us begin by explaining what is CP all about.
Pathologically, cerebral palsy is defined as an abnormality of motor function. It refers to the inability to move and control movements or loss of muscle control due to damage on one or more parts of the brain (Richard & Malouin, 2013). Severity and the muscle affected is dependent on which part of the brain has a lesion. It is commonly acquired at the foetal or infant stage, causing issues of sensation, feeling, perception, cognition, communication, and behaviour (Richards & Malouin, 2013). Cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition, meaning that it does not worsen or change over time.
Classification of Cerebral Palsy varies. MyChild at Cerebralpalsy.org (n.d.) in their website provides excellent explanation on these classifications. According to their website, some are classified according to severity, topographical distribution, motor function and based on The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). Topographical distribution in laymen terms can be described as which part of the body is affected.
It is important to understand that there are two different terms to describe how the body is affected; Plegia, meaning paralyzed; and Paresis, meaning weakened. If just one part of the body is affected, it is monoplegia or monoparesis. Diplegia or diparesis is when the legs are affected more than the arms. Quadriplegia or quadriparesis is when all four limbs are affected. There is also hemiplegia or hemiparesis, where a vertical half of the body, meaning the arm and leg on one side of the body is affected. Paraplegia or paraparesis describes the lower half of the body, which includes both legs affected (MyChild at Cerebralpalsy.org, n.d.).
Under motor functions, one can be spastic or non-spastic. Spastic CP is when there is an increase in muscle tone also known as hypertonia whereas non-spastic means muscle tonus fluctuates or decreases often referred to as hypertonia. Muscle tone is essential in contraction and relaxation of the muscles, for the muscles to work together. In spastic CP, the muscles are always contracting. Therefore, the limbs become tensed and resistant to movement. Even if there were movements, they are irregular and jerky (MyChild at Cerebralpalsy.org, n.d.).
Authors of this article:
Rajvin Kaur Randhawa, Kiirtaara Aravindhan (HELP University), Anasuya Jegathevi Jegathesan (HELP University), Siti Salina Abdullah (University Malaysia Terengganu)
*NOTE: The Malaysian Mentor was given permission to publish this article and the entire series. This article was sent to us by Miss Rajvin Kaur who lives with Cerebral Palsy in Malaysia. This is her story. She is also a HRDF Certified Motivational Trainer. We hope to help this young and ambitious lady to achieve her dreams to provide motivational training. You can help too. She spends her time creating awareness on Cerebral Palsy and The Malaysian Mentor aims to help her in her mission for the benefit of all. What about you, are you on a mission to make the world a better place? Please do get in touch if you want us to tell your story. Thank you.
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