Cerebral Palsy
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Everyone’s favourite - the startle reflex!

laurenhunterlaurenhunter Member Posts: 2 Listener
Hi everyone, 
My CP affects me in many ways, however one of the most prevalent (aside from the wheelchair, of course!) is that I have quite a high startle reflex. I’m mainly impacted by sudden/loud noise; many people just laugh when I jump as they don’t realise it’s part of my condition and just think I’m easily frightened (I’m never actually scared as such, the jump is just an instinct and then I’ll go back to being completely fine!) Especially in environments where there are lots of people about, it can get a bit embarrassing if I jump and someone else decides to make a big scene of it. What I’m trying to ask is, for those who experience this, are there any ways of controlling the reflex and make the jumping more minimal? Or am I just going to have to ride this out? 
Many thanks, 


  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Member Posts: 5,257 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi Lauren

    I do understand, for the last year or so I have sudden jump reflex sometimes for no reason. The worst when having a hot drink and thowing it everywhere. I have not found a way to control this but I wish you luck. Hopefully someone can suggest something
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • nicebootsniceboots Member Posts: 196 Pioneering
    Hi I have cp and my startle reflex makes me jump at all sorts, even when I’m expecting loud noises (bonfire night is interesting!) I haven’t yet found a way to control it. I just ride it out. Although I do find ways of not jumping so high, as that has lead to some interesting situations, I quite often spill drinks because something has made me jump, I once threw a pint over my friend in the pub when someone’s dog barked! If I’m expecting a loud noise I do tense my body, which stops me jumping so high, but is exhausting if I have to keep doing it. I also make sure I’m sat down, as I have been known to loose my balance a bit.
     I do avoid fireworks as banging seems to get me worst of all. when I spent last New Years with friends who were planning to have fireworks, they kindly got me a pair of ear defenders so I didn’t have to hide indoors and miss out, which really helped. 
    I tend to laugh about it, as it’s just part of who I am and there’s nothing I can do to change it, most of my friends don’t make a big thing of it either, they might make the odd comment, which doesn’t bother me, it’s the approach I have to most things cp. I don’t even mind the people I sit with at football nicknaming me jumpy!

  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,733

    Scope community team

    Hi @laurenhunter
    Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast way to control it. My G.P. once gave me beta blockers to try to help. They didn't. It can be worse if you are tired or had too much caffeine. 
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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