Cerebral Palsy & sensory problems

If there is anyone out there with cerebral palsy who can relate to sensory problems, I would love to hear from you. It’s common for people like myself who have cerebral palsy to experience abnormal sensation and perception, but these are the things I’m having to work through for the first time.

Although this is something I have experienced my whole life, I have only really been able to make sense of it since I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in my forties. The source is the central nervous system damage. Unfortunately, no two people with the condition will experience the same issues, because different parts of the brain are affected.

It is common for children with cerebral palsy to have visual and hearing problems. This is different from having a physical inability that prevents someone being able to hear or see things. When a child has a visual processing deficit, it means they have a hard time finding the words for objects they are viewing.

For example, and this is my issue, if a child is asked to go and get an object, they might look at it and then say they can’t find it. This is because they are seeing it, but their brains are not processing what’s in front of them. Similarly hearing integration problems are the same, the child hears what you say but the brain does not process what it hears simultaneously.

Indeed it may take several minutes for what you have said to click with the child and make sense. They may not get back what you’ve said but what the brain interprets. With little help out there and with our symptoms differing, it’s very hard for others to accept this is what we genuinely have to deal with on a daily basis.


27 Feb, 2013

6 thoughts on “Cerebral Palsy & sensory problems

  1. Good post. I don’t think my son has CP but he does have frontal lobe atrophy. He has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and has no hearing on the right side due to malformation of his ear. Some of the symptoms you describe sound like him though.

    When I ask him to get something he can walk right by it and see it but won’t get it, he gets something else. He also has bad ADD and I have to repeat myself several times until he understands what I’m saying.

    It’s very hard to deal with it sometimes but I’ve learned to be VERY patient with him on these issues.

    1. Your son’s symptoms sound very similar to mine. You’re absolutely right on your approach. Your patient approach will help both of you in the longer term.

      Because it’s not something that can be helped, we sometimes just have to understand what that other person deals with and be there for them.

  2. My personal hearing problems are due to listening to loud music as a teenager. I have had this problem for a long time, since I was about 16 or 17.

    My hearing with time will only get worse. Hearing aids are next for me at some point.

    1. Sorry to hear that Randy, but pleased your problems aren’t down to CP and what you deal with.

      Because of my sensory problems I have always found it difficult to listen to loud music, but that’s probably been a good thing.

  3. I have spastic CP, and for the longest time, I thought it only affected my motor skills and balance, but I’m finding out as I get older that sensory problems are part of my particular case, too.

    For me, I don’t have a problem processing information. It’s the amount of information. To help illustrate this, image you’re sitting at a computer and making it open many programs at once. The computer will seem to freeze as it processes the commands given. Then, the programs or other commands will seem to happen suddenly all at once.

    My brain works like that computer. Give it too much (sound and light for physical stimuli and conflict for emotional) and I will shut down until the stimuli lessens to a manageable amount.

    1. Hi David and welcome to the site. A beautifully articulated response, very well explained.

      It’s taken me many years to understand how my disability works very similar to yours. It’s also easier to understand when others explain for themselves. It’s taken me too long, but feel I am finally getting there.

      I look forward to seeing you on the site very soon.

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