Cerebral Palsy and Prada Willi – syndrome – Massage and Movement with stiff and floppy babies

Cerebral palsy, also referred to as CP, is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting the child’s body movement and muscle coordination and  refers to any one of a number of neurological disorders that appear in infancy or early childhood which may permanently affect body movement and muscular coordination.

It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development; before, during, or shortly after birth; or during infancy. These disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves themselves, but through faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain which disrupt the brain’s ability to adequately control movement and posture.

Cerebral palsy doesn’t always cause profound disabilities. While one child with severe cerebral palsy might be unable to walk and need extensive care, another with mild cerebral palsy might be only slightly awkward and require no special assistance.

The early signs of cerebral palsy usually appear before a child reaches 3 years of age.  The most common are a lack of muscle coordination when performing voluntary movements (ataxia); stiff or tight muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity); walking with one foot or leg dragging; walking on the toes, a crouched gait, or a “scissored” gait; and muscle tone that is either too stiff or too floppy.

Consequently an accurate diagnosis can take time and as time is of the essence it could be well worthwhile to observe exactly what it is that your baby is doing or not doing that is giving you cause for concern. You then have the opportunity to see what is ‘on offer’ as a means to be able to help you to help your child obtain some degree of normality while leaving the cause and diagnosis to the ‘experts’.

If your baby’s muscles and joints are stiff, floppy, or both in different areas of the body, and / or at different times, massaging and moving them gently in the right way, can bring about some remarkable improvements.
Only movement can restore and improve movement – there is no ‘magic pill’.

The magic pill is a parents love and frequent daily practice of correctional techniques
Without the correct massage movement techniques the body’s joints and the muscle groups that control them become stiffer or looser and this increases and becomes more difficult to rectify over longer periods of time through repetitive practice of the wrong patterns of movement and the increase in the child’s body weight.

At the very least massage, if practiced regularly, will improve the quality of your child’s everyday life and give you a means of expression. With an opportunity to perhaps restore the correct ‘tonus’ to the muscles, free the joints and establish  a more normal /normal ‘pattern’ of movement.

What it will also do is allow you as a parent to get closer to your child and to practice massage and movement  with your child at a time of day that is mutually convenient.

Prader-Willi syndrome

Prada-Willi syndrome is a complex genetic disorder, which is present from birth. Motor signs of the disorder that may be present in the first year of life include:

Poor muscle tone. Hypotonia. The baby may be very ‘floppy’’ which can cause developmental delay

Failure to thrive. Babies with Prader-Willi syndrome may have a poor sucking reflex due to decreased muscle tone. Because poor sucking makes feeding difficult, they tend to gain weight slowly.

Generally poor responsiveness. The baby may seem unusually tired and will respond poorly to stimulation. They tend to sleep more and waken with difficulty or have a weak cry.

Delayed motor development. Toddlers with Prader-Willi syndrome often reach milestones in physical movement later than do other children.

Scoliosis. A number of children with Prader-Willi syndrome develop abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis).

It is advisable for parents with a child affected by Prader-Willi syndrome learn techniques that can be effective in the event of the child choking.

Where ‘floppiness’ and developmental delay is evident the correct techniques using massage and movement will have a considerable effect upon restoring normal muscle tone and development.
As babies with Prader-Willi syndrome can be hypotonic  a firmer touch with cool hands can help to ‘tighten up’ the muscles and joints and using supervised positions and movements that encourage strengthening rather than stretching is advisable.
Gravity assisted techniques will also assist sitting and standing and reduce the risk of scoliosis.

While Prader-Willi syndrome itself is not life threatening, the compulsive eating and the resulting weight gain can be. Many complications of Prader-Willi syndrome are due to obesity. If a child with Prader-Willi syndrome  manages to follow a restricted diet and control their weight, there is no reason why they cannot enjoy a good quality of life and take part in activities such as voluntary or part-time work. However, because of  behavioural problems and learning difficulties a fully independent lifestyle may be difficult.

If your baby’s muscles and joints are floppy, massaging and moving them gently in the right way, can bring about some remarkable improvements. Again, only movement can restore and improve movement – there is no ‘magic pill’.

The magic pill is a parents love and frequent daily practice of correctional techniques
Without the correct massage movement techniques the body’s joints and the muscle groups that control them become stiffer or looser and this increases and becomes more difficult to rectify over longer periods of time through repetitive practice of the wrong patterns of movement and the increase in the child’s body weight.

Practiced regularly with some gravity assisted techniques massage and movement  will reduce hypotonia / floppiness and assist your child to sit and stand and redress postural problems.

 

peter

PETER specialises in supporting parent and child relationships and the well-being and fitness of mothers and babies, and especially those babies and children with developmental delay. His certificated Teacher Training Courses in Developmental Baby Massage for professionals working with mothers and babies are given throughout the UK and abroad. These courses attract midwives, health visitors, neonatal nurses and all other therapists working with families and mothers and babies. A pioneer of Developmental Baby Massage and YogaGym from the 1980s onwards. Peter is credited as the original NHS baby massage teacher trainer who’s teacher training resulted in baby massage being offered free to parents in health centres and clinics throughout the United Kingdom. The leading international trainer for Developmental Baby Massage with over 40 years of group teaching experience Peter currently has over 18,000 teachers or more the world over, teaching Developmental Baby Massage. Background Peter has studied yoga and experiential anatomy from the early ‘80’s with his friend and teacher Arthur Balaskas. He worked with a group practicing ‘Psycho- Gymnastics’ and ‘Re- Birthing’ for some ten years under the supervision of R.D. Laing psychiatrist, musician, poet and author and a founder of the Philadelphia Association in London. Peter introduced yoga and massage into a number of Dr. Laing’s therapeutic communities and from the mid-eighties onwards has taught Developmental Baby Massage and Soft Post-Natal Yoga to mothers and babies. Peter teaches a variety of techniques to parents with babies with additional needs - stiffness - floppyness and developmental delay. Peter has made numerous television appearances and has featured in documentaries and breakfast shows on all the UK’s major channels. He's given talks on BBC Radio One, Woman’s Radio, Radio Wales and various other radio stations, and has had articles featured in Woman, Cosmopolitan, Harpers & Queen, The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Observer, The Times, Japan Times and Australia’s Natural Parenting magazine and many other national publications including most UK ‘mother and baby’ periodicals. His books, sell worldwide and include: Baby Gymnastics with Arthur Balaskas (Unwin) Baby Relax (Unwin) Going for Gold [with DaleyThompson] (Unwin) Natural Parenting (Gaia) The Book of Massage (Gaia) Baby Massage (Piatkus) Hop, Skip and Jump [Gymnastics for Children] (Carroll and Brown) Developmental Baby Massage (Carroll and Brown, Octopus 2014 Sharing Pregnancy E Book 2012 Peter has also made the following films: Baby Massage Step 1 2 and 3 (Little Venice Films) Massage and Movement: Birth to Three Years Sharing Pregnancy [A Unique Film for Fathers] DVD Developmental Baby Massage, DVD Soft Baby Yoga, DVD YogaGym, DVD Stretching Together, DVD Peter works worldwide throughout the United Kingdom and abroad. For more detailed information about his teacher training courses See www.babymassageteachertraining.com For advice / treatments Email walker@thebabieswebsite.com

9 thoughts on “Cerebral Palsy and Prada Willi – syndrome – Massage and Movement with stiff and floppy babies

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  3. Oh I apologise for a very, very late late response, I’ve just seen it. So Leona Gudelj,if it is to say which pose does she use more it is the one sitting on her feet and then the feet most of the time are in the inner postition, and if the oposite, we correct them. Rarely she sits between her feet and we correct that too, tell her to sit on her legs/feet. I hope I responded well and even more hope I understood your question.

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