Understanding Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a debilitating neuromuscular disorder that affects approximately 10,000 babies born each year. It’s typically caused by the malformation of the motor cortex during fetal development; however, infants can also suffer traumatic brain injuries before or during the birthing process that result in cerebral palsy. Parents first notice the resulting impairments when their children miss important developmental milestones such as crawling and walking.
While every case of cerebral palsy is unique, the disorder can be characterized by the following clinical signs: poor coordination and difficulties with movement; improper muscle tone, including hypertonia and dystonia; impaired gross motor functioning; abnormal, underdeveloped, or excessive reflexes; trouble maintaining posture and balance; and poor oral motor functioning. A doctor can review these symptoms to classify a child’s condition as spastic (stiff muscles and jerky movements), ataxic (poor balance and coordination), and/or athetoid (slow writhing movements).
Although cerebral palsy is a non-aggressive disorder, it can still impact a person’s health and quality of life. As a child develops into an adult, the symptoms of cerebral palsy will become more pronounced. An adult with this disorder may even experience premature aging due to the strain of overtaxing their bodies on a daily basis.
The Importance of Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, roughly 17 million people around the world suffer the physical and cognitive impairments associated with this disorder. Despite this alarming statistic, many people don’t even know that cerebral palsy exists, let alone understand what it means to live with this life-long disability.
Fortunately, the month of March marks National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, with March 25th serving as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. In 2005, Reaching for the Stars established this month-long observance after realizing that there was no federal funding being directed to cerebral palsy research. Many families felt invisible and hopeless because there wasn’t any perceivable interest in developing effective treatment programs, let alone a cure.
For this reason, Reaching for the Stars created National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month to reflect their mission statement: “The RFTS mission is centered on the belief that leading-edge pediatric research, increased awareness, and education will lead to new treatments of cerebral palsy, improving the lives of impacted children and their families. Research for CP, particularly in children, is under-supported and severely under-funded…slowing progress towards better understanding what causes cerebral palsy, how best to treat it and how to eventually cure it.”
The goals of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month are as follows:
- Increase awareness about cerebral palsy
- Impart the critical importance of cerebral palsy research funding
- Explain that cerebral palsy isn’t a disease, but a common motor disability
- Inform the public that the treatment protocol for cerebral palsy hasn’t changed in 50 years
- Empower the community to share their stories and inspire positive changes
Reaching for the Stars has also developed a successful campaign called “Go Green for CP,” which invites advocates to wear green in support of cerebral palsy awareness. The organization chose this color because it’s associated with growth, vibrant living, and the renewal of life – the perfect shade for a movement that intends to create a world where people with cerebral palsy can enjoy longer, healthier, and fulfilling lives.
As technology advances and barriers continue breaking down, there are more and more opportunities for people with this disorder to work in different fields and make independent decisions about the trajectory of their lives. But this can only continue if supporters pull together and continue to collaborate on behalf of people with cerebral palsy.
We Proudly Wear Green
At Wagner Reese, we are proud to wear green and show our support for the children and adults who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Our birth injury attorneys in Indianapolis are committed to championing the rights of children who have been harmed by negligent medical professionals, which means that have a comprehensive understanding of the various physical, emotional, and financial challenges commonly associated with this medical condition.
For the people living with cerebral palsy, know that our hearts are always with you. You can count on our team to wear green and spread awareness this March 25th!
Since 1997, the lawyers at Wager Reese, LLP have been providing effective legal representation in cases relating to personal injury and medical malpractice. Armed with over 120 years of collective legal experience, you can trust that our team has the resources and litigation skills to secure a favorable case outcome that yields life-changing compensatory damages. Our singular priority as a firm is to help injured parties – especially children with birth injuries – seek restitution that provides for their current and future needs.
If you have questions about birth injury cases involving cerebral palsy, contact the Indianapolis birth injury lawyers at Wagner Reese today. You can schedule a free consultation by calling (888) 204-8440 or by filling out our online form.