preventing startle reflex in cerebral palsy

English: Moro Reflex 日本語: モロー反射

English: Moro Reflex 日本語: モロー反射 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those of you who live with cerebral palsy it is possible that most of you deal with some startle reflex. You will appreciate that I am trying to keep up with reader demand and because this is currently my top search topic on my site, I thought I would add one more thought that I realized I never included.

It occurred to me that despite knowing something is about to be a potential trigger for me to startle, it sometimes doesn’t prevent it from happening. People are nice enough to warn me that they are about to make some loud noise. I think they do that to prevent this from happening for me. The thing is, that despite my appreciation of them telling me this and me attempting to prepare my body. My body has a mind of its own in terms of moro reflex.

For those of you that don’t know what a startle reflex (moro reflex) it is quite common in infants but is usually lost by the time they are a toddler, or at least that is my understanding of it. With me and others with cerebral palsy it is something we live with all our lives. Everyone startles at noise or sudden movements at one time or another.  The difference is that I would guess it to be more frequent in someone with cerebral palsy. I never want anyone to feel bad when they make me startle I just want people to know that I appreciate the warning when able to. What is your experiences with startle reflex.


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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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7 Responses to preventing startle reflex in cerebral palsy

  1. I know just was you are talking about. My starle reflex increases my tension as well as the tension of those around me.

  2. Mel says:

    I only found out today that I have a startle reflex, I’m 18 and after a visit to the hospital, i got asked if i jump at certain things, and i responded that I jumped all the time at the slightest thing, to which i got told that I had a lack of development with regard to my startle reflex. I thought it was something I could control for so long, and i realised that no matter what I did, the slightest thing would still cause me to jump out of my skin. Living this way has impacted so much of my life and i’m finally glad to have an answer as to the way things are. Was anyone else kept in the dark about the symptoms of their CP?

  3. Amber Rizzi says:

    My startle reflex is quite severe; it increases the anxiety in me. I was also unaware of it until now. I jump at a door slamming, or thunder rumbling and lightning flashing! It explains my dramatic reactions to alarms and even certain flashing lights and someone touching me when I’m caught off guard.

  4. Cari says:

    Great blog you have here! My daughter has CP and is 11. Her startle is something she struggles with on a daily basis. As a parent, it’s hard to see her having to deal with this. I notice she startles more when she’s more tired – is this true of you as well? I’ve never heard of the Moro reflex – is it distinctly different than the startle reflex or are they the same thing?

    • G. Rizzi says:

      My daughter is 18 now and still struggles with this debilitating problem. Special provisions were made in school for fire alarms. In recent years, she has developed panic disorder which is a response to the anticipation of being startled. She has undergone extensive therapy, and is now medicated. She has a severe problems coping with thunder storms. I have chased this problem for years, and NO ONE gets it! My daughter is a wonderful person, and is the founder of our charity, The Children’s Voice Foundation, Inc. Please feel free to keep us appraised of your progress. Thanks and good luck!

  5. Robert says:

    I remember when I was younger I would watch my younger brother sleep and without a moment’s notice, startle awake. I don’t know if being asleep and being startled awake is limited to cerebral palsy. However, speaking of cerebral palsy and the moro reflex, I’ve has cp most of my life and as long as I can remember, my body will startle for unexpected reasons. I was tormented by this as bullies at school drop items, on purpose, to see me jump yet the adults knew about it and did nothing to correct the bullies. Not all bullies were like that, some were merely physical bullies; however, I believe the most damage I received was the psychological and emotional injuries. Now an adult, I frequently come across someone who will mock me or point out to embarrass me; most of those are from people I don’t know, nothing like I encountered at school.

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