Cerebral palsy is a serious condition that can affect a child’s development and their movement throughout their life. The condition is often caused by brain damage that occurs directly before, during or immediately after birth, but the effects are usually not immediately apparent.
Symptoms of cerebral palsy will normally start to appear during the first three years of a child’s life, so if your child is at risk, it is important to be aware of what to look out for.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
There are four main types of cerebral palsy and symptoms vary between children depending on the areas of their brain affected and the severity of the damage. The four main types of cerebral palsy are:
- Spastic cerebral palsy – Muscles are stiff and tight affecting ease and range of movement
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy – Muscles are alternately stiff and floppy, causing random uncontrolled movements and/or spasms
- Ataxic cerebral palsy – Issues with balance and co-ordination causing clumsy and/or shaky movement and tremors
- Mixed cerebral palsy – A mixture of two or more of these types of cerebral palsy
Key symptoms to look out for include:
- Problems feeding or swallowing
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Acid reflex
- Bladder incontinence
- Scoliosis (abnormally curved spine)
- Hips that dislocate easily
- Vision problems and/or random eye movements
- Hearing loss
- A learning disability
If your child is experiencing any of these issues, it is essential to speak to a doctor as soon as possible to ensure they can be diagnosed and appropriate treatment and care provided.
Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
While there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, there are various treatments available that can dramatically improve patients’ quality of life and help them to live a full, independent life wherever possible.
Common treatments used for cerebral palsy include:
Physiotherapy – Helps to develop movement, strengthen muscles and stretch muscles to improve range of movement.
Speech therapy – Helps children practice speech or learn alternate methods of communication, such as sign language.
Medication – Includes various options for specific issues, such as for muscle stiffness, sleeping problems, epilepsy and constipation.
Surgery – To deal with more serious issues, such as muscles that are so tight they are restricting movement or to repair a dislocated hip or curved spine.
Occupational therapy – Helps to identify any particular issues children are having, such as with getting dressed, and develops strategies so they can manage these tasks.
Making Sure Your Child Gets the Support They Need
If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy that was caused by mistakes made by the medical team handling their birth, you may be able to claim compensation. This money can be essential to ensure your child has all the help and support they need, including giving you the ability to pay for private treatment, on-going care support, specialist equipment and anything else your child needs to live a full, happy life.
IBB Claims is a firm of birth injury solicitors, offering specialist expertise in all types of birth injury claims, including those related to cerebral palsy. Their experienced advice will give you a clear idea of the strength of your claim, how much compensation you may be able to secure and what you need to do to start a claim.