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What Is Cerebral Palsy?

Wagner Reese

Cerebral palsy is a common developmental disorder that affects a person's ability to move. This lifelong physical disability affects about 500,000 people in the United States. Every year, about 8,000 infants and 1,200 preschool-age children are diagnosed.

Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain injury during development, at birth, or during the first few years of life to the motor cortex of the brain. Cerebral palsy affects movement, motor skills, and muscle tone while preventing the body from moving in a coordinated way. Cerebral palsy comes in many forms and the severity of symptoms can vary a great deal from one person to the next.

There are four primary types of cerebral palsy:

  • Spastic CP (70%) which may cause a mild to severe motor function impairment. This type of cerebral palsy has four sub-groups depending on the number of limbs involved.

  • Athetoid CP (20%) causes slow movement patterns, low muscle tone, and involuntary jerking of the arms, legs, and/or head.

  • Ataxic CP (10%) causes weakness, unsteadiness, wide gait, difficulty with fine motor skills, and uncoordinated movement.

  • Mixed forms of cerebral palsy may also occur.

Cerebral palsy is a notoriously complex medical condition that may come with coexisting conditions like seizure disorders, cognitive disabilities, vision problems, learning disabilities, and issues with bladder and bowel control.

Treating Cerebral Palsy

Most parents first notice something is wrong when their child fails to thrive or reach developmental milestones like crawling, walking, or rolling over. While signs of the disorder can be present at a very young age, most children are diagnosed between 18 and 24 months.

There is no definite cure for cerebral palsy but there are many treatment options to improve your child's quality of life. Symptom management and preventing secondary conditions such as communication difficulties and bladder control problems can help your child live the best possible life.

Because cerebral palsy is a complicated disorder that affects many areas of life, your child will likely need a medical team of many specialists like physical therapists, neurologists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists to tailor a personalized treatment plan that changes as they age.

Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Attorney

Cerebral palsy can be caused by abnormal brain development or a brain injury during development although it is often caused by medical negligence during birth. It's estimated that 10-15% of cerebral palsy cases occur due to medical malpractice such as failing to recognize fetal distress, failing to resuscitate a baby soon enough, or writing an unsafe prescription for a pregnant mother.

If you are concerned that your child's CP was the result of medical negligence, it's important to consult with an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney at Wagner Reese to explore your legal options and seek compensation to pay for your child's current and future medical expenses. Contact Wagner Reese to schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.

To schedule your free initial consultation, call (888) 204-8440 today!

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