FAQs about Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy FAQs

What is cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a general term that applies to several disorders. A common factor among the disorders is that the cerebral palsy victim is unable to fully coordinate and control the muscles in his or her body. The types of cerebral palsy are categorized according to what part of the victim’s brain is affected. That, in turn, determines the specific symptoms which the person has.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by brain damage that occurs before, during, or not long after birth. In other cases, it may be caused when the victim’s brain failed to form properly before birth.

What are the symptoms of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy is the name given to a group of disorders, so victims of cerebral palsy can have many different symptoms depending upon which particular disorder they have. The one symptom that is common among almost all persons with cerebral palsy is that they have some degree of difficulty controlling their muscles. That difficulty means that most people with cerebral palsy have problems with posture and movement.

Some people with cerebral palsy may have muscles that are unnaturally tight or rigid.  Others may experience muscle spasms or muscles that suffer from being floppy or loose. Cerebral palsy sufferers may exhibit involuntary muscle actions that produce writhing, twitching, and tremors. Some may also have eyesight and hearing deficits. Each cerebral palsy victim’s case is unique such that they may have varying degrees of these symptoms and combinations of such symptoms.

Overall, the muscular problems experienced by cerebral palsy victims often make it difficult for them to walk, handle objects, or carry out other activities.

Will my child’s cerebral palsy get worse over time?

No. Cerebral palsy doesn’t get worse. Still, individuals who have cerebral palsy need proper medical care, therapy, and other support services throughout their lifetime. If not addressed properly, the muscular control and coordination difficulties associated with cerebral palsy can lead to other complications, some of which can be serious.

Also, the cognitive and motor effects of cerebral palsy become more obvious as a baby develops. As infants and toddlers miss normal developmental milestones like sitting up, rolling over, crawling, and talking, parents may become more concerned and wonder if a birth injury caused the neurologic injury.

Can cerebral palsy be spread from one person to another?

No. Cerebral palsy is not a communicable disease.

Can cerebral palsy be cured?

Unfortunately, the brain damage associated with cerebral palsy cannot be reversed. The effects of cerebral palsy are well understood, however, which means that a child with the disorder can receive medical treatment, therapy, education, and other support services, all designed to minimize the disorder’s effects and maximize the child’s abilities. That means every child with cerebral palsy has the potential to enjoy a productive and happy life.

Can cerebral palsy be prevented?

Sometimes. It depends on the precise situation and the way it occurred. The risk of cerebral palsy can be reduced, but not every cause of the disorder is known, which means the disorder cannot always be prevented. Known risks include birth injuries, some types of infections in a baby’s mother (including rubella and toxoplasmosis), severe jaundice, and blood problems such as Rh incompatibility or coagulation disorders. Healthcare providers try to minimize those sorts of risks in order to minimize the chance that a baby will suffer brain damage associated with cerebral palsy.

My Washington child has cerebral palsy – what are the options for treatment?

While cerebral palsy can’t be cured, the disorder’s symptoms can be managed and minimized. Each child diagnosed with cerebral palsy should receive a long-term treatment plan that includes a variety of treatments targeted to the child’s specific needs. Treatment options can include physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medicines such as muscle relaxants and perhaps pain relievers. Surgery can help in some cases, as well. Many children with cerebral palsy also benefit from medical devices such as canes, walkers, body supports, and other aids intended to help them manage the disorder’s symptoms.

Do I have a legal claim for my child’s cerebral palsy? How do I know?

The best way to find out whether you have a legal claim for your child’s cerebral palsy is to discuss your child’s condition with an experienced Washington birth injury attorney. Birth injury cases are complicated, and an experienced birth injury lawyer can evaluate your case and advise you about your legal rights and options.

At Tinker Law Firm, PLLC we have a record of success representing birth injury victims. Contact us to discuss your case and your legal rights in a free consultation. You can reach us at (206) 752-4366 or by using our online contact form.