THE EXCEPTIONAL LEARNER
11 b ii). Examine the impact of celebral palsy on the learning process of a student
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a disorder affecting voluntary movement. It causes a child to have difficulty moving or coordinating his or her body. The problem may be mild making the child appear clumsy. It can also be severe making voluntary movement practically impossible. The most common form of cerebral palsy is characterized by spasticity.
Spasticity refers to muscles that are too tight or tense. Most children with cerebral palsy
may also have secondary handicaps e.g. hearing problems, speech problems or mild mental retardation.
What causes cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain before birth like in cases associated with anoxia (reduced oxygen supply in the foetus brain). It can also be caused by brain damage during the birth process or during infancy.
This category constitutes the physically different children e.g. the orthopedic, physically handicapped, crippled or deformed. The physically different children could be intellectually gifted, of normal intelligence, average or mentally retarded.
These children may have special orthopedic devices such as braces, special shoes, crutches or wheelchairs. For these children to participate in a normal school program, they need attention, architectural features such as ramps, elevators and accessible toilets. They also require physiotherapy and other medical services that will help them to develop their physical potentials. They need teachers who will allow for their physical limitations.