5th October 2022
In support of World Cerebral Palsy Day 2022 (6 October), we are delighted to share a Voices Blog by Pilar Cloud, Project Lead at Action Cerebral Palsy, as they launch a new public awareness campaign – If In Doubt, Check It Out – to educate new parents using plain English.
Each year in the UK, approximately 1,800 children across all backgrounds and socio-economic groups will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which is the most common physical disability in childhood. Of these children, we know that approximately 50% will have been ‘high-risk’ babies discharged from special care baby units and will therefore have been monitored by follow-up services and then go on to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy. However, the remaining 40-50% who were not known or believed to be at risk of having cerebral palsy from birth often go undetected because new parents and frontline health practitioners are not always aware of the range of indicators of cerebral palsy that would enable them to identify early signs of their child’s condition. Moreover, there is no practical tool to support parents in knowing and looking for the signs of cerebral palsy.
To try to address this, Action Cerebral Palsy (Action CP) is launching a public awareness campaign today to coincide with World Cerebral Palsy Day 2022. The campaign, entitled: ‘If In Doubt, Check It Out’, aims to educate new parents using plain English rather than medical terminology. Action CP’s parent-friendly resources describe typical motor development for babies and young children, including their milestones at each age/stage from 0-3 years, as well as the signs of concern and what action is recommended for parents to take if any of these warning signs are present.
Through this campaign, we want to equip parents with the knowledge and confidence to encourage them to speak to their GP or health visitor if they have any concerns – this is not to prejudge or presume a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but to ensure that any child who shows signs of delayed motor development has the opportunity for this to be assessed and monitored so that early diagnosis and support can be provided if needed. Early diagnosis of cerebral palsy enables early intervention to be provided as soon as possible and at a critical stage of early brain development. During this time, the brain is developing at rapid speed making it the ideal time to harness ‘neuroplasticity’ which is the brain’s ability to repair damage and make new brain connections. The results really can be life changing. Early identification also helps parents to learn how to help their children and access the care and education they need.
Campaign Poster and Leaflet
Action Cerebral Palsy is hugely grateful to the leading healthcare professionals, including Alison Morton and her team at the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), clinicians, therapists and parents for their expert help and advice and in pulling this campaign together. We are very proud that our poster and parent information leaflet have both been accredited by the iHV. Click on the poster image below to view the poster.
For more information, please see: www.actioncp.org/signs
Pilar Cloud, Project Lead at Action Cerebral Palsy
About Action Cerebral Palsy:
Action Cerebral Palsy (registered charity number 1165217) is the only UK charity which actively and solely campaigns on behalf of children with cerebral palsy. We are working towards improving public, professional and political awareness of cerebral palsy and the issues facing children and young people living with cerebral palsies and their families. We want every child and young person in the UK with cerebral palsy to be able to access, from birth onwards, the best possible intervention, care, education and support which meets their complex and changing needs.