Please remember, I am not a medical expert. This blog is record of my experience and the methods I use with my daughter. That is all.

In order, to assist with the ridiculous amount of jargon associated with a disabled child, I present the following glossary.

Please email me at if I missed any terms requiring definition.

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Cerebral Palsy – an umbrella term for brain damage received as a baby or young child

EEG – (electroencephalogram) a test to detect problems, such as seizures,  in the electrical activity of the brain; the test, which is painless, takes about an hour and reads her brain activity via by electrodes stuck to her head

Health Visitor – a nurse devoted entirely to new mothers and their babies

Lycra suit(ing) – (AKA Supergirl Suit) a snug lycra suit that is tailored exactly to May’s measurements; should stimulate her arms with sensory pressure and give her extra support to help her posture and (fingers crossed!) sitting; looks like an outfit one would wear if attempting to climb a French mountain on a bicycle

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging – that enormous, white machine you see on TV medical dramas that looks like a whole body capsule, kept in a room on its own adorned with a one-way mirror, behind which doctors discuss all kinds of ghastly theories about the patient. In reality: a machine that uses powerful magnets instead of radiation to create an image of the internal structure of the body; particular good at visualizing the soft tissues of the body, like the brain.

Neurologist –  doctor specializing in the brain; neurology – science studying the nerves and nervous system (brain)

NHS – National Health Service; the British health care system. I will go into more details in later posts.

OT – occupational therapist, assists with fine motor skills (smaller movements like picking up peas). They can also provide assistance with adaptions to the home and equipment.

Phenobarbital – a barbiturate used to treat seizures in infants; May no longer takes this.

Physio – physiotherapist, assists with gross motor skills (bigger movements like running)

Pyriodoxal Phosphate – vitamin B6 in its active, post-metabolized form. Though I wouldn’t quote me on that. Mock 2 of May’s pyridoxine dependency issues. Became a possibility as May responded to pyridoxine treatment, but did not register dependency when tested.

Pyridoxine – vitamin B6 supplement that May takes daily; B6 deficiency causes seizures in infants. Doctors thought May had a rare metabolic condition that meant she could not metabolize B6  properly.  She showed an almost immediate response to this, though her test results on dependency came back negative.

Red Book – a red, medical record book given to all British parents when their baby is born; used to record measurements, vaccinations, etc.

SALT – speech and language therapist, assists with feeding and communication

SCBU – Special Care Baby Unit in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Ward (AKA in the States as NICU or Neonatal Intensive Care Unit); the room in the hospital where May spent her first six weeks

Sodium Valproate – anticonvulsant drug used to treat seizures.

Splint – a foam glove that May wears around her hands to keep her thumbs out rather than fisted; some children also wear them on their feet

Statmenting or a Statement – After assessing a child’s special educational needs, the council writes a formal report called a “statement” detailing what she requires. This could be anything from equipment to help her sit to one-on-one care at nursery.

The Boss – May’s pediatric neurologist and also one of the directors of the hospital; not a nickname, that’s what the other doctors call him too

Tone – specifically “high tone” in May’s case, a stiffening of the muscles. Low tone means the muscles are floppy. Though it may not be possible to stop it entirely, if not treated, a patient can lose their full range of movements.

Toparimate – anticonvulsant drug used to treat seizures; may suppress appetite so one possible cause for May’s low weight.

VEP – (visual evoked potential) – a test like an EEG, that specifically reads the brain activity involved in sight; used mainly for people, like babies, who can’t tell doctors what they can or can’t see; lights are flashed into the babies eyes to see if the signals are reaching the brain