Life with Cerebral Palsy and What Your Child CAN Do

Most birth injuries are short-term issues and actually heal on their own or with minimal treatment, but some are moderate to serious. And then there are others that have extensive and sometimes even lifelong consequences and medical or treatment requirements. Few lifelong birth injuries strike fear into the hearts of well-meaning but uninformed loved ones like cerebral palsy (CP). But what exactly is cerebral palsy? This blanket term covers a set of neurological disorders that challenge and impact the individual’s balance, posture, and motion. CP can be contracted at any age, but it’s most often discovered and diagnosed within the first year or two after childbirth. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 10,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy, and up to 1,500 school-aged kids are diagnosed with the condition annually. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, so it is a lifelong condition. But CP doesn’t have to be seen as a roadblock at all. In fact, there are still plenty of things your child with cerebral palsy can do.

Kids with Cerebral Palsy Can Play and Socialize

First, it’s important to realize that while CP is a lifelong challenge for most who have it, it is not a disease. Therefore, there are no medications needed for the condition itself and absolutely no one can “catch” CP from anyone else. So there are no worries regarding socializing and permitting play dates with other kids or even allowing group sports play to an extent. Cerebral palsy is not a roadblock on its own, it’s simply a detour. There are limitations and workarounds required based on which type of CP the kid has. Kids with CP are likely to be slower, need more attention, and get frustrated easier than those without similar challenges. Kids with CP are also more likely to have other issues such as mental retardation and other physical disabilities. But that’s not always the case. And as long as patience, understanding, respect, and the ability to adjust as necessary are in order, playtime can be safe and successful for all.

Different Types of Cerebral Palsy Have Different Limitations

There are four main types of cerebral palsy and while some people only have one type, many have a combination. Ataxic cerebral palsy affects up to 10% of kids and involves balance, depth perception, cognitive functions, and coordination. Athetoid Cerebral Palsy affects up to 20% of kids with CP and focuses on uncontrolled movements. Erratic movements during bodily motion and weak muscles are common in this form. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of CP, affecting over 70% of kids with the condition. This type involves a consistent hypertonic bodily state with tight, stiff muscles that can’t relax in some places. Eating, speaking, and movement control are serious challenges. The fourth kind of CP is a mixed version of two or more of the above types of cerebral palsy. Regardless of what type of CP the child has, various life adjustments can be made to obtain the best education and general living standards possible.

Kids with Cerebral Can Grow Into Loving Spouses and Even Parents

The average life expectancy of someone with cerebral palsy is between 30 and 70 years. The condition itself is not the problem, but resulting untreated health issues can cause injuries and trauma leading to premature death. But while CP can’t be cured, many issues can be treated thoroughly enough to extend and increase the quality of life. In many cases, kids with cerebral palsy can easily be active and social, attend public school and advance to college and eventually, get married and have kids of their own. Of course, before they can ever consider having such a future, they may need ongoing treatment. That’s where the right birth injury attorney can help.


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