A human brain is like an engine that controls our mind and body. From the term “Cerebral Palsy”, cerebral refers to a part of our brain. Our brain consists of 3 main parts, the cerebrum, the brainstem and the cerebellum. Cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain that serves as sensory, motor and association areas. According to the Oxford Dictionary, palsy carries the meaning of paralysis, especially that which is accompanied by involuntary tremors. Cerebral Palsy (CP) mainly affects the motor area in the cerebral cortex, part of the brain that directs muscle movement and mostly accompanied by other related conditions such as intellectual disability and sensory problems like vision and hearing.

CP can be detected during infancy or in early childhood and the conditions last for life from the average age 30 to 70 years old. The most significant sign or symptom for CP is impaired movement associated with exaggerated reflexes. Some of the causes that lead to CP are Gene mutations that result in genetic disorders or differences in brain development, Traumatic head injury that leads to bleeding into the brain of an infant, such as from a motor vehicle accident, fall or physical abuse and Infant infections that cause inflammation in or around the brain. Until now, there’s no specific test to detect CP during pregnancy or to cure CP, but we can reduce the risks. Pregnant mothers should take prenatal care seriously and consume only prescribed drugs or vitamins by the paediatricians. Other than that, we have to practice good general safety when handling infants or children.

According to The Star article published on 7th July 2022, there is inadequate progress in handling CP. CP affects about 2-2.5 children per 1,000 live births. The Social Welfare Department reported that there were 5,840 children with CP in Malaysia between 2011 to 2017. The Health Ministry reported 2,766 children with special needs in 2012, of whom 215 had CP.

Below are few non-profit organizations that helps and provide support for children or individuals with CP in Malaysia;

1. Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor & Federal Territory (SCAS&FT)
• SCAS&FT is 60 years old association and the oldest NGO in Malaysia dedicated to the education, rehabilitation and care of children with Cerebral Palsy.

• SCAS&FT a one-stop centre which provides a complete range of services for persons with Cerebral Palsy. There is no exit age that provides services throughout their life and all the services are FREE OF CHARGE.

• The range of services SCAS&FT provide include physiotherapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, hippotherapy, arts, handicraft, special education, recreational and competitive sports (up to Paralympics), music therapy, dancing, cooking, independent living skills, vocational training and sheltered workshops.

For more information, please visit https://scasft.org/

2. Gabungan Anak-Anak Palsi Serebrum (GAPS)
• GAPS founded in 2016 and visioned to create possibilities for people with Cerebral Palsy to have better quality of lives. Their mission is to empower the Cerebral Palsy community in Malaysia through knowledge building programmes, socio-emotional support and advocacy, and fostering inclusion and awareness about CP to the public.

• GAPS activities are planned around 3 focal points that are empowerment & knowledge building, socio-emotional support and advocacy and creating awareness about CP.

For more information, please visit https://cerebralpalsy.org.my/

3. Healthy Strides Malaysia
• Healthy Strides Malaysia was recently set up this October 2022. Healthy Strides Malaysia associate with Healthy Strides Foundation (based in Perth, Western Australia), a world class clinic in partnership with Sarawak Oil Palms Berhad (SOP) have established a world class rehabilitation centre of excellence with the opening of a new paediatric rehabilitation centre in Miri. For the first time in Malaysia, children with neurological conditions and injuries will have access to the highest quality of services to improve health and well-being outcomes.

• The range of services Healthy Strides Malaysia provide are Initial Assessment, Stride Program – Locomotor Training, Active Program – Independence and Participation and Kindy Moves Program – PreSchool Preparation.

For more information, please visit – https://healthystridesmalaysia.com/

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