Cerebral Palsy affects about half a million individuals in the U.S. It’s a complicated disorder, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. No parent wants their child to be afflicted with Cerebral Palsy, but if you suspect your son or daughter has this condition, it’s important to understand the disorder and to find treatment options that will result in the best possible outcome. It’s also important to be aware of your legal rights if you believe the Cerebral Palsy may have been caused by a birth injury.
What Is Cerebral Palsy?
The disorder known as Cerebral Palsy affects the brain’s cerebellum, hence the word cerebral. Palsy refers to a paralysis, which causes motor deficiency. It’s as if there’s an area of the brain that is dormant. Either partial or complete muscle paralysis can occur. Most commonly, this brain damage happens before, during or shortly after birth. It can end up being a lifelong disability for the child. There are three types of cerebral palsy:
- Spastic – stiffness or a problem moving limbs
- Athetoid – involuntary or abnormal movements in the limbs
- Ataxic – problems with walking or balance, or even depth-perception
Causes of Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral Palsy develops in the brain. Many international organizations are still studying the disorder, but most believe that it can potentially stem from a few different complications. A maternal infection before the delivery can disturb the growth of the brain in the unborn infant. Meanwhile, extensive research also shows that Cerebral Palsy can be caused by birth injuries when the child is deprived of oxygen for too long. Babies who endure a labor of more than 18 hours are at higher risk, as are babies who were delivered with the assistance of an instrument, like forceps. These delivery complications cause brain damage, which develops into Cerebral Palsy. If you believe your child’s Cerebral Palsy was caused by a birth injury it is important to consult a qualified law firm that specializes in birth injury litigation such as McGehee ☆ Chang, Barnes, Landgraf.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
The clinical signs and symptoms of this disorder include:
- A lack of muscle tone and control. Simple tasks might be extremely difficult and exhausting for a person with CP.
- Abnormal reflexes and responses occur in CP. Infants may not be able to hold their head up or be able to grasp items when they reach that developmental milestone.
- CP limits coordination and control. Individuals may walk with a wider gait, or drag one leg when walking.
- CP causes oral motor problems, affecting the breathing, eating and swallowing movements of the mouth.
Doctors have many tests they can use to assess the child to diagnose the disorder and find treatment.
Living With Cerebral Palsy
Fortunately, there are many resources for parents who have children with Cerebral Palsy. However, because the disorder affects the brain it can lead to mental health problems and other physical problems that will need to be monitored for the rest of the individual’s lifetime. Treatment professionals will draw up a Life Care Plan to help your child have the accommodations and accessories necessary for the best outcome. Depending on the severity of the disorder, many children with Cerebral Palsy can go on to be successful adults.
It is also important to realize that severe cases of Cerebral Palsy may require a full-time caregiver throughout childhood and adulthood. One thing is certain, the financial costs of coping with Cerebral Palsy can quickly add up. This makes it all the more important to protect your family by contacting McGehee ☆ Chang, Barnes, Landgraf to discuss your birth injury case.