and the United Cerebral Palsy Associations estimate that more than 500,000 Americans currently have the disease! Cerebral Palsy is a condition caused by faulty development or damage to the area of the brain called the cerebrum, the largest portion of the brain that controls motor skills, higher mental faculties, sensations and voluntary muscle activities. The damage to a child's cerebrum disrupts the brain's ability to control movement and posture and can result in the loss of nerve functions in many different areas.

Cerebral Palsy is incurable and non-progressive, which means the condition will not worsen over time. Symptoms of CP are usually very apparent before age 2 and can include difficulty with fine motor tasks, difficulty maintaining balance or walking, and involuntary movements. It is estimated that one-third of children with Cerebral Palsy are mildly intellectually impaired, and one-third are moderately or severely impaired. Other causes of CP include infections during pregnancy and jaundice. Hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain, seems to be the main cause of Cerebral Palsy.

The emotional and economic effects of this disease are hard-hitting. It is estimated that lifetime care costs for a child with Cerebral Palsy may be in excess of $3,000,000! For more information on Cerebral Palsy, visit our Resources section, or call the Cerebral Palsy attorneys at The Birth Injury Legal Network at 1-800-732-5243.



Signs and Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
There are several signs that lead doctors to a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Because CP describes a type of brain damage, the effects of the disease are apparent in many different forms. Signs and symptoms can be extremely mild and subtle, or very apparent. Below is a list of various signs and symptoms of CP:·

  • Poor head control
  • Difficulty feeding and sucking
  • Delays in motor development
  • Lying in awkward positions
  • Easily or frequently startled
  • Delay in crawling, walking, pushing up on all fours
  • Favoring of one hand over the other
  • Abnormal crawling
  • Overdeveloped or underdeveloped muscles (child will seem either floppy or stiff)· Ataxia (loss of coordination and balance)·
  • Athetosis (involuntary writhing movements)
  • Spastic paralysis (abnormal stiffness and contraction of muscles)
  • Motor impairment (writing and other coordinated tasks)
  • Involuntary movements
  • Slow overall development
  • Speech, hearing, or vision difficulties
  • Difficulty with perception or sensation
  • Inability to control bladder/bowels
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Behavioral and/or attention deficit disorders
  • Impaired sense of touch or pain
  • Swallowing problems
  • Limited range of motion
  • Progressive joint contractures
  • Peg teeth

Cerebral Palsy is a disease that affects each child differently. The spectrum of severity can be extremely mild to severe. In milder cases, the disease may be apparent only with slight awkwardness of movement. In severe cases, victims may be totally dependent and require lifetime medical care. For more information, contact the Cerebral Palsy treatment lawyers at The Birth Injury Legal Network at 1-800-732-5243.

Types of Cerebral Palsy
Spastic - characterized by stiff, permanently contracted muscles. Muscle tone is increased in one or many limbs. Spastic CP affects 70 to 80 percent of patients.

Athetoid or Dyskinetic - characterized by involuntary, uncontrolled movement of the arms, hands, legs, or feet. Severe cases may affect the muscles of the face, mouth or tongue. Athetoid CP affects 10 to 20 percent of patients.

Ataxic - characterized by problems with balance and depth perception. Unsteady gait, poor coordination, and poor motor control are common. Ataxic CP affects 5 to 10 percent of patients.

Mixed Type - two or more types of Cerebral Palsy occur in one patient.

Cerebral Palsy is incurable and is treated as a lifelong disease. Children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy will need extremely specialized medical care, educational assistance and social services counseling. Care for children with Cerebral Palsy is typically very expensive due to the highly specialized treatment needed. A specific treatment plan will be formulated for a child with CP based on a number of factors including symptoms exhibited and degree of severity. If you or someone you know has a child diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, the child may need the help of one or more of the following types of professionals:

Pediatric psychiatrist
Pediatric neurologist
Physical therapist
Occupational therapist
Speech pathologist
Clinical Social Worker
Case Manager

Orthotics, casts and splints are often used with therapy programs. Various medication and surgery can be effective options for some children. For more information on Cerebral Palsy, visit our Resources section, or call the Cerebral Palsy treatment lawyers at The Birth Injury Legal Network at 1-800-732-5243.

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