Similarities between autism and cerebral palsy?

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orbweaver
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22 Jun 2022, 4:02 pm

This comes up for me because of two things... the first thing was a comment that a (non-CP) physically disabled friend made, wherein she expressed that people with CP sometimes have odd social behaviors (this is not something I am familiar with and I have nothing to add to this claim) when we were discussing a specific person with CP acting in an overly familiar way.

But another is that my partner has mild CP. Most people can't tell at this point, but when I first met him (some 20 years ago, when he was 21), people sometimes thought he was weird because of his facial expressions/movements/gait - which I didn't at all notice, because I often do not notice subtle things that other people think are weird.

Over the course of our relationship (the past 6 years) and living with him, I have observed many commonalities between our experiences that could possibly either be chalked up to a "gifted but disabled/different" narrative, but there are specific things in our *thinking, emotional regulation, and interacting* that are actually kind of similar. He is definitely not autistic, and does not think he is autistic. He actually seems remarkably gifted with people - can literally just talk to anybody effortlessly, neurotypical or neurodivergent alike - he is one of those people who will go into any group of strangers and come out with a bunch of new friends. He does not have the same auditory processing issues I have or the same monotropism. (For what it's worth, he also has ADHD, and I too am diagnosed with ADHD, so we could also be just experiencing a common neurodivergence experience.)

Does autism feature "crossing midline" issues in childhood, or present with midline issues in general? Because in talking with his mother (who talks a lot about his early childhood interventions), this comes up a lot. And - I was in adaptive PE my entire school career.

I have some odd movements and postures, and I'm incredibly clumsy (way more than he is) and he's asked "how is it you're clumsier than me and I'm the one with CP?"

I realize that two examples (one of which is someone's opinion and may be FOS), neither of them exactly scientific, are not enough to go on. But I am wondering, if there has been any discourse around this? Do many people with CP have an autism-like experience (or many people with autism, have a CP-like experience?)


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Jakki
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22 Jun 2022, 4:20 pm

Have often considered the similarities between certain long term chronic , possibly hereditary disabilities.
Have found corresponding symptoms . In more than a few illness. Some even on the microbiological levels .

Yes having the potential of CP rearing it’s head as part of any disability experience, might be very troubling ?


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kraftiekortie
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22 Jun 2022, 5:50 pm

I'm inclined to think it depends on the individual. Cerebral Palsy runs the gamut, really. The functioning of people with Cerebral Palsy varies widely. It is considered something like a syndrome, or maybe a symptom rather than a single disorder. There are some with autistic features, and others with none.



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22 Jun 2022, 5:55 pm

I had a stroke in my cerebellum which intensified a lot of my autistic traits (loss of nuance, fine-tuning of movement, emotion, and thought). In my research about cerebellar function I found that cerebellums are often damaged or poorly developed in autistic newborns. I was born autistic so this was a double-whammy for me.

I know CP doesn't affect the cerebellum but brain damage of any sort is likely to cause deficits similar to DDs.



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22 Jun 2022, 7:49 pm

I have honestly wondered if I have a milder form of CP that was never detected, from being born premature due to my placenta dying. I guess some people can go into adulthood without knowing they have it, depending on the symptoms and how well they function + cope, and what other problems they have that can "explain" their issues (like apparent clumsiness from autism). I have issues with balance, coordination, and some other aspects of movement that have been prevalent since I was a baby and can't really be chalked up to "just autism", nor have I really improved on them as you would expect someone with "just autism" to improve. Though I doubt these concerns would be taken seriously due to having ASD, and just being seen as carelessly clumsy.



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22 Jun 2022, 8:50 pm

HeroOfHyrule wrote:
I have honestly wondered if I have a milder form of CP that was never detected, from being born premature due to my placenta dying. I guess some people can go into adulthood without knowing they have it, depending on the symptoms and how well they function + cope, and what other problems they have that can "explain" their issues (like apparent clumsiness from autism). I have issues with balance, coordination, and some other aspects of movement that have been prevalent since I was a baby and can't really be chalked up to "just autism", nor have I really improved on them as you would expect someone with "just autism" to improve. Though I doubt these concerns would be taken seriously due to having ASD, and just being seen as carelessly clumsy.


I had some really rigid / awkward postures from early childhood too. I posted some photos on WP once but I can't remember which thread. I'd stand with my feet almost backward yet in different directions, my wrists stiff, and my head was always tilted to one side. I think it still is, actually. :wink: My grandmother who was a model used to make me walk with books on my head because I was so robotic. My mum put me in ballet, tap, gymnastics, swimming, and lots of activities to soften my gait and my movements. Having two strokes didn't help. 8O I'm always self-conscious about the way I move even if I'm alone.



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22 Jun 2022, 9:53 pm

IsabellaLinton wrote:
I had some really rigid / awkward postures from early childhood too. I posted some photos on WP once but I can't remember which thread. I'd stand with my feet almost backward yet in different directions, my wrists stiff, and my head was always tilted to one side. I think it still is, actually. :wink: My grandmother who was a model used to make me walk with books on my head because I was so robotic. My mum put me in ballet, tap, gymnastics, swimming, and lots of activities to soften my gait and my movements. Having two strokes didn't help. 8O I'm always self-conscious about the way I move even if I'm alone.

I stand and walk on my tip-toes, and sit either slouching pretty bad or leaning a bit to one side (it's honestly probably why my back is messed up...). Sitting up straight and standing/walking normally for some reason also exhausts me and takes a lot of conscious effort. I lose my balance a lot while walking or standing, and try to not have to run because I'll lose my balance and get hurt (that didn't stop me when I was a kid though lol). I also have kind of tense muscle tone (apparently I was slightly "rigid" as a baby), and some of my movements (especially my arm movements) are occasionally jerky. I function relatively well, and these problems are minor enough that I just seem clumsy or careless, but I've never been able to overcome them and some of them (like the muscle tone, losing my balance, and jerky movements) are 100% out of my control.



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22 Jun 2022, 10:07 pm

Any condition that affects the brain shares some similarities with autism even if they are not on the spectrum. That's why I don't categorise everyone without autism as neurotypicals, because a person can be allistic but not neurotypical.


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IsabellaLinton
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22 Jun 2022, 10:12 pm

Hero,

I can relate to all of that. ^

I always look a) wooden or b) liquid. I say liquid because I slouch and sprawl in weird postures, and I can't sit on chairs. I don't even own any chairs in my house other than a couple of those big Lazy Boy-type things. Even with those, I have to sprawl sideways or upside-down on them, with my feet over my head. I don't have kitchen chairs, dining chairs, or office chairs because I literally can't sit in that position. I spend most of my time poured upside-down onto the sofa, pretzel-shaped in a pillow fort, sitting on the floor in odd contortions, or standing up doing ballet moves like on a barre. No wonder my mother doesn't want to live in my house: there's nowhere for her to sit.

When I have to stand in public I twirl in circles (sometimes with my arms out like an airplane), or sit on the floor / ground. I still walk on curbs or anything raised, like a child.

It was hell-on-Earth when I had my first stroke and needed to use a walker in public because I couldn't spin in circles or sit down without people thinking I'd fallen.