Many children with cerebral palsy (CP) will grow up to live normal lives. They will go to school like any other kid, and when they grow up they’ll work and live independently. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all children with CP. When the disorder is so severe that the child will require assistance to function for the rest of their lives, it is considered to be severe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cerebral palsy is the most common neurological condition to be found among young people in the United States. There are three types of CP, which we’ll discuss in more detail later in the article. Spastic quadriplegia is the most severe form of cerebral palsy. This type of CP only occurs when a baby’s brain has significant malfunctions.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is not a single neurological condition but is a group of conditions that fall under this umbrella title. The CDC reports the most common symptoms linked to CP to include problems with balance and posture, which can lead to issues like scoliosis and a lack of control over the muscles.
According to Dallas cerebral palsy lawyer Robert Goldwater, CP is caused by brain damage that usually occurs within an infant’s first month of life. Some of the causes of brain damage in newborns are:
- Brain cell death: This can happen when a baby is deprived of oxygen because the placenta ruptured or they were strangled by their umbilical cord.
- Poorly insulated nerve fibers: Sometimes a newborn’s nerves may not be fully developed, so the insulation around the nerve fibers that help send electrical impulses to the brain won’t function properly.
- Abnormal brain cell development: Genetic and environmental factors can cause a fetus’s brain to develop abnormally.
In some cases, parents will contact a medical malpractice lawyer who specializes in cerebral palsy if they believe their child’s condition was caused by a medical mistake. Early intervention is the key to the best possible prognosis for your child. The compensation parents receive will help cover treatments that could improve your child’s quality of life.
Types of Cerebral Palsy
The three distinct types of cerebral palsy can affect people in different ways. The symptoms may become more severe over time, and they also may change throughout life. How CP will affect your child will depend on the type they have.
Spastic Cerebral Palsy
Of the three types of CP, the most common is spastic cerebral palsy. This condition is characterized by muscle stiffness and muscle weakness. Around 80 percent of all cases that are diagnosed are this form of the CP. Children affected by spastic cerebral palsy in its many forms will often experience some form of difficulty walking.
Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy
Dyskinetic cerebral palsy is not as common as the spastic form, but it can be more difficult to control the body of the affected person. The hands, legs, feet, and other body parts will often have constant movements making it hard for them to be controlled.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
The final form of CP is ataxic cerebral palsy. Individuals who have this form of the condition will have the most difficulty controlling their movements. This form of CP is considered to be the most severe. It can affect all aspects of the body, from a person’s eye movement to their ability to swallow.
There are many different ways for a parent to seek support for their child affected by cerebral palsy of any form. The most common ways of trying to handle the symptoms of CP include the use of physical, speech, and occupational therapists who can work to improve the mobility and range of motion available to the affected child.
There are also more invasive techniques that can result in large hospital bills, including the use of surgery to relieve the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Parents may want to look into using injections to increase flexibility and relieve muscle pain. Botox and some muscle relaxers have shown improvements in the ability of a child to move effectively.
There are many treatments available for cerebral palsy, and new treatments are in development. Your doctor will make recommendations for your child that are based on the type of CP they have.