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Understanding Cerebral Palsy

little girl with cerebral palsy in a wheel chair

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture.”

The word, ‘cerebral,’ indicates that the disorder affects the brain, and ‘palsy’ refers to weakness or problems with muscles.

What Causes Cerebral Palsy?

As the most common motor disability in childhood, CP is often caused by a lack of oxygen during the birth process. Risk factors include infections during pregnancy, complications during birth, premature births, multiple births, and untreated jaundice in newborns. Doctors can address and prevent many of these risk factors before they cause injury, so some cases of CP are sadly a result of medical malpractice.

If your child is diagnosed with CP due to a birth injury, however, you may be entitled to compensation. With the right resources, even children with severe CP can live full and happy lives.

What Are the Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?

The symptoms of CP vary from person to person and can change over a person’s lifetime. While everyone with CP has issues with movement and posture, some people need lifelong care and others don’t need any special help. In addition to differing severity, the types of CP might affect someone’s symptoms.

Spastic CP affects 80% of people with CP and results in stiff muscles (spasticity) and awkward movements.

Dyskinetic CP leads to uncontrollable movements (dyskinesia), and patients have trouble controlling their hands, arms, feet, and legs, which can make it difficult to walk.

Ataxic CP is characterized by poor balance and coordination (ataxia), unsteady walking, and difficulty with movements that need a lot of control.

Some people also have mixed CP, which occurs when symptoms of more than one type of CP are present. Spastic-dyskinetic CP is the most common type of mixed CP.

What Will My Child’s Life Be Like?

There is no cure for CP, but treatment can be extremely helpful. If you are concerned about your child and suspect they may have CP, contact your doctor or nurse immediately and ask for a referral to a specialist. Once you have a CP diagnosis, begin treatment right away. Your treatment plan will help your child reach their full potential.

Although your child may be eligible for intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you might have a hard time accessing the education and treatment your child needs.

If you suspect your child’s disability is related to complications or trauma during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, you owe it to your family to speak with an attorney.

A successful lawsuit can give your child the resources they need to survive and thrive with CP.

At the Law Offices of Charles R. Gueli, we can evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your potential case during a free consultation.

We are available 24/7 to take your call at (516) 628-6402, and we encourage you to contact us today.

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