It Is Spasticity Not Spastic!

In today’s society, many people use the term “Spastic” without really understanding the true meaning, in fact, in a general sense, people often, naively refer to themselves or others who make silly or “funny” motions or mumble their words as “Spastic”.

Is it offensive?

Well, do you like being called an “Idiot” or “Weirdo” or “D**khead”? then why would someone like being referred to as a “Spastic” especially given that very few actually understand what the word means or where it comes from.  Let’s learn about it now!

Spasticity is the true name for a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted. This contraction causes stiffness or tightness of the muscles and can interfere with normal movement, speech and gait. Spasticity is usually caused by damage to the portion of the brain or spinal cord that controls voluntary movement.

The damage causes a change in the balance of signals between the nervous system and the muscles. This imbalance leads to increased activity in the muscles. Spasticity negatively affects muscles and joints of the extremities and is particularly harmful to growing children.

How does spasticity happen?

There are many different kinds of spasticity. The causes of spastic paralysis lie in an injury to the brain or spinal cord that occurs before, during or after birth, and can be the result of paraplegia, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury or cerebral palsy. However, the symptoms can vary considerably. There can be isolated paralysis of the legs or arms (para- or diplegia), one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia), total limb impairment (quadriplegia), and problems with specific movements (athetosis). In individual cases there can also be problems with mental development, speech and perception. Often it’s the person’s general development that must be monitored. In Germany and Switzerland, around two to three in every thousand babies born each year come into the world with this type of disability.

Centre of People with Cerebral Palsy?

In 1949, an organisation commenced operation in Sydney, then called “The Spastic Centre of NSW”.  In 1990-1991, Steve the owner of Moreton Bay Able Anglers volunteered and dedicated his school holidays to working with this centre.  As a young teen, having the immature, naive attitude of “Spastic”, this opened his eyes so much and becoming best friends with some of the tenants at the centre.

In 2011, The Spastic Centre changed its name to Cerebral Palsy Alliance to focus attention on cerebral palsy, and pay tribute to our alliance of clients, families, staff, donors, volunteers, government and researchers.  According to the ABC, this organisation decided the word ‘spastic’ had too many negative connotations and changed its name to Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

In 1992, Steve moved to Brisbane, in 1993 Steve landed his first job in I.T with a company who’s boss was not only a member of the centre, but himself is disabled.  Still to this day, Steve and his once boss, are still friends.