Last week we introduced you to the inspiring and hilarious comedian Lee Ridley, who made it through to the semi finals of Britain’s Got Talent. This week, we are delighted to report that Lee Ridley has WON Britain’s Got Talent!!!
Congratulations Lee! Truly, you were the most deserving to win this competition–not because of your cerebral palsy disability, but because of your remarkable wit and humor. You have touched our hearts and our lives with your story.
PS: You don’t want to miss Lee’s reaction! Click the video to watch.
We know Lee Ridley has cerebral palsy and that it has left him without the ability to speak, but what is cerebral palsy?
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term referring to a group of disorders that affect a child’s ability to move and maintain posture and balance. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) defines cerebral palsy as a group of neurological disorders appearing in infancy or early childhood that permanently affect muscular coordination, balance, and body movement. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. To read more about it, read our article covering everything you need to know about cerebral palsy, here.
- Lack of oxygen or bleeding on the brain
- Infection in the early part of pregnancy
- Abnormal brain development
- Serious head injury
What are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Early signs, or neurologic or behavioral abnormalities, include:
- Excessive lethargy (tiredness or sluggishness) or irritability
- Poor feeding
- Poor sleeping
- Vomiting frequently
- Poor visual attention or tracking
As the child grows and develops:
- Motor tone in arms or legs may be increased or decreased
- Poor head and/or trunk control
- Delays in or inability to roll over, sit up, or crawl
In a child with cerebral palsy, the early signs usually appear before the age of 3. Those signs include:
- Lack of muscle coordination in performing voluntary movements
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Dragging one foot or leg while walking
- Crouched or scissored gait
- Walking on the toes
- Too stiff or too floppy muscle tone (hypotonia or hypotonic)
- Hearing loss
- Impaired vision
- Bladder or bowel control problems
- Abnormal sensations and pain
How can Cerebral Palsy be Treated?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, symptoms can be treated to improve the child’s quality of life. The sooner treatment begins, the better the child’s chances of overcoming developmental disabilities. Muscle control for many children with cerebral palsy can be improved through early intervention, surgery, medications, and supportive treatments.
Treatments may include:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Medications to control seizures
- Medications to relax muscle spasms
- Pain medication
- Surgery to release tight muscles
- Surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities
- Braces and orthotic devices
- Rolling walkers and wheelchairs
- Voice synthesizers and other communication aids
How does Cerebral Palsy Effect Lee Ridley?
Due to complications caused by cerebral palsy, Lee Ridley is unable to speak and has difficulty controlling motor functions. Today, he relies on a lightwriter device to write messages to communicate and share his jokes with the world.
If you or someone you know has a child you suspect might have suffered a birth injury, it is important to get help as soon as possible.