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Advocates and supporters of those with cerebral palsy celebrate Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month in March.
By wearing green bracelets, shirts, necklaces, and sometimes even face paint, people living with cerebral palsy and their allies educate the public about this motor disorder. In doing so, they strive to improve the healthcare system and job market for those with cerebral palsy.
In honor of this important global event, read on to learn seven fascinating facts about cerebral palsy.
1. Cerebral Palsy Is A Physical Disability Caused By Early Brain Injury
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or damage.
The word cerebral relates to the brain, and palsy is defined as a weakness or difficulty using muscles. Thus, someone with cerebral palsy may have trouble with movement, coordination, muscle tone and control, reflexes, posture, and balance.
2. Cerebral Palsy Is Generally Considered A Birth Injury
The abnormal brain development or damage that leads to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy typically occurs:
- during pregnancy (e.g., an infection in utero)
- from birth complications (e.g., a doctor’s negligence disrupts oxygen flow)
- shortly after birth (e.g., the baby is denied what they need for proper brain development)
3. Cerebral Palsy Is The Most Common Lifelong Physical Disability
One in 345 babies is diagnosed with cerebral palsy in the U.S. It is not only the most common physical disability in childhood, but it’s also the most common lifelong physical disability in the world. In fact, in the U.S. alone, around 1 million people have cerebral palsy.
4. Cerebral Palsy Is Manageable
A variety of medical and therapeutic remedies can help you manage your child’s cerebral palsy. Certain medications may help relax your child’s muscles and/or reduce any related drooling.
Therapy will also be helpful to your child’s care. Physical therapy improves muscle control and strength, occupational therapy helps them gain independence in daily routines, and speech therapy helps them communicate clearly.
5. Early Detection Is Key
Learning the common early detection signs of cerebral palsy can significantly increase your child’s standard of living. Parents should be on the lookout for early signs of cerebral palsy, such as:
- excessive drooling
- feeling limp or “floppy” when being picked up or held
- difficulty sounding out words clearly
- the inability to pick up toys or grasp objects
- significant delay in crawling, reaching, standing, and walking
6. There Is No Known Cure For Cerebral Palsy
While there are abundant treatments, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy.
Despite being currently incurable, it is important to begin a treatment program as early as possible to improve your child’s comfort, mobility, and independence. A team of health professionals can work with your family to develop a plan that will help your child reach their full potential.
7. You May Be Able to Collect Compensation for Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy
If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy was the direct result of a doctor’s or hospital’s negligence, you may be able to sue for compensation. Payment from a settlement or verdict will help you afford the various treatments that can significantly improve your child’s quality of life.
If your child has been recently diagnosed with CP, Talk to the lawyers at VSCP to determine if you could seek medical compensation.
A cerebral palsy diagnosis completely changes a family forever. However, it may be possible for a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) to lead a happy, well-adjusted life with extra care, supportive therapies and close attention to managing its symptoms.
That doesn’t make the initial diagnosis any easier. But with the right resources, tools, and information, adjusting to life with a child with CP is possible.
Cerebral Palsy Overview
Cerebral palsy is a motor condition in which the body’s muscles cannot function in the same way as a non-disabled person. Cerebral palsy itself is a highly nuanced condition. It can present itself in many different ways, from minor coordination issues to severe movement and oral functioning limitations.
While there is no cure for CP, seeking treatment for this condition early on can lead to easier management and a better quality of life for your child.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common motor disabilities in the world. Unfortunately, the cause of cerebral palsy may often be linked to medical malpractice or medical negligence at birth.
- Nearly 1 in 323 children have cerebral palsy, which makes it one of the most commonly diagnosed birth injuries in the world.
- As far as motor disabilities are concerned, the frequency of CP makes it the most commonly diagnosed motor disability in the world.
- Cerebral palsy impacts boys more frequently than it impacts girls.
- Close to half (41%) of babies born with CP will have difficulty with walking or will be unable to walk, crawl, or move like a baby born without CP.
- CP disproportionately impacts Black children, leading them to be 1.7 percent more likely to have severe walking impairments or the inability to walk.
Cerebral Palsy: Early Warning Signs
Learning about the early warning signs of cerebral palsy is essential.
The sooner you understand your child’s diagnosis and symptoms, the better support you can provide and obtain for your child. Additionally, it is vital to ensure that your child’s CP was not the cause of medical malpractice. If a doctor or medical staff causes your child’s CP diagnosis, you should seek compensation to ensure you can get help with the tremendous costs associated with managing your child’s CP symptoms.
Early warning signs may look like one or a combination of the following signs:
- Irregular muscle tone: e.g., your child might be limp or floppy when picked up or, conversely, may be hyper-rigid or stiff. These symptoms might be occasional or persistent.
- Muscle spasms & contractions: Your child might experience muscle or limb spasms occasionally or persistently. In some instances, they may experience seizures.
- Irregular neck posture: In older babies or infants, they might not support the weight of their head as well as babies of the same age.
- Irregular body posture: Your child might not be able to sit up or hold themselves up in a way that looks comfortable or typical of a baby or child their age.
- Fused or fixed-posture limbs: Your child might hold their limbs, like their wrists, arms, or legs, fixed in place. For instance, they may ball their fists.
- Inability to grasp at objects: Younger children and babies with CP might have difficulty grasping at familiar objects, like parents’ fingers or toys.
- Poor coordination: Your child cannot control their movements in a way that is typical to another child of their age.
- Oral control issues: Your child might drool more than a child of their age. Typically, this shows up in older children and may be harder to notice in babies.
- Developmental or milestone delays: Your child might not meet the same typical milestones as a child of the same age. This might mean your child fails to crawl, walk, eat certain types of food, or regularly speak at specific ages.
How To Support My Child Living With CP
Having a child with CP is difficult on many fronts for a family, including financially and emotionally. While getting support for your child’s cerebral palsy diagnosis might seem like an overwhelming task, there are medical, legal, and community organizations exist to make your child’s life — and yours — a little easier.
Here are some things that many parents of children with cerebral palsy should consider.
- Early Intervention. Early intervention is additional healthcare all children with motor conditions, like cerebral palsy, are entitled to by law. This typically includes physical/occupational therapy, feeding support, daycare, and more.
- Home Support. Your healthcare services can help coordinate in-home help for children who might need extra support at home.
- Healthcare. Many children with cerebral palsy qualify for additional aid under Medicaid and/or Medicare. Even families with private insurance should consider these insurance types as an option for getting the best care possible.
- Housing. Making your house as CP-friendly as possible is a great way to support your child. All apartments and housing complexes must have ADA-accessible entries. For private homes, some of the ways to make your house CP-friendly is:
- Adding a ramp to your front and back door if it requires steps to access.
- Purchasing a dining table easily accessible with a wheelchair.
- Rearranging your living spaces with wider spaces for chair turnarounds and easy movement for walkers, canes, and other aids.
- Adding a seating space in your shower or bath and investing in shower handles.
- Joining a CP support group for more home accessibility tips.
- Travel. Public transport is legally required to accommodate those living with motor disabilities, and most private travel companies also must provide these accommodations. Traveling on a bus, plane, or train may require a little coordination, so calling their accessibility lines can typically make travel easier.
- Education. By law, private and public schools must provide appropriate educational resources for all children, regardless of their learning abilities. If you suspect your child might have a cognitive disability caused by CP, your school of choice will be able to evaluate them and provide an aide or a special education course that will help your child thrive in their educational setting.
- Civil Rights Legislation. Start learning more about the civil rights laws available to those with disabilities, both those your child was born with and those caused by medical malpractice. In the case of medical malpractice, seek legal action.
Philadelphia & National Cerebral Palsy Organizations
Legal Help for Families and Children with Cerebral Palsy
We look to doctors and hospitals for care and proper treatment. We trust them with our lives and our children’s well-being. The overwhelming majority of doctors handle our medical cases with composure and professionalism.
However, when a medical case is mishandled, the consequences can be disastrous, especially if it involves babies and young children.
If you suspect your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by medical malpractice, please reach out to VSCP LAW today to have your child’s case evaluated. We will work closely with our team of medical experts to determine whether negligence occurred and if you are entitled to financial compensation for your child. A winning case won’t change a cerebral palsy diagnosis, but it could fundamentally improve your child’s quality of life and help change the medical industry to ensure that other children are not the victims of malpractice.
Cerebral Palsy Is A Common Childhood Motor Disability
- Nearly 1 in every 345 American children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year.
- Learning the serious early detection signs of cerebral palsy can allow your child to get early access to the medical care they need and significantly increase your child’s standard of living.
- Children with cerebral palsy may have a hard time sitting upright, holding up their head or positioning themselves like other children of the same age do.
- They may also heavily favor a specific side when reaching for things, crawling, or standing.
- Your child may feel “floppy” when picked up or held.
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, your child may feel too rigid when picked up as compared to other children of their same age.
Fine Motor Skills
- Your child may have difficulty doing some of the fine motor skills which other children of their age do, such as picking up their toys, wrapping their hands around your finger, or grasping food. They may also demonstrate “fisting” or keeping their hands balled up
Speaking & Eating
- Speaking, eating and mouth control might be difficult for your child if they have cerebral palsy.
- Your child may also drool more than average. This can be difficult to see in babies but becomes more pronounced with age.
- All babies and children experience development milestones, like crawling, reaching, first sounds and words, as well as their first time siting, standing and walking on their own.
- Babies and children with cerebral palsy often do not experience these milestones. Even if they do, they often struggle to obtain them or are delayed in reaching milestones.
What To Do If I Notice Early Symptoms Of CP?
- Be sure to inform your child’s doctor as soon as possible. Cerebral palsy is serious and requires early intervention and access to comprehensive therapies to give your child the best possible opportunity for an improved quality of life.
- Get your child tested for CP and rule out other possible medical issues.
- Seek care and continue to learn more about the disease.
- If you suspect that your child’s CP was caused by medical malpractice or complications at birth, then contact the cerebral palsy lawyers at VSCP LAW to have your child’s medical care evaluated.
Hope After A CP Diagnosis
- Unfortunately, CP is sometimes caused by medical malpractice or negligence that occurred surrounding a child’s birth. If this happened, you and your child are entitled to compensation for the significant medical costs and long-term care needs that are associated with having a child with CP.
- Seeking medical compensation from the hospital or medical provider at fault for a CP diagnosis can help your child and your family move on with your lives and get the compensation you deserve in order to assist with your child’s lifetime care needs.
- Proper medical care, therapies and management can give your child the highest possible quality of life despite the lifetime of challenges presented by CP.