Every year in the US, approximately 10,000 babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary widely and are usually not
noticeable until a child’s nervous system matures. Symptoms include
failure to reach age-appropriate developmental milestones, abnormal muscle
tone, unusual posture due to muscle impairment on one side of the body,
and limited range of motion in joints.
Diagnosis & Care
Signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy usually emerge in the first year of
life. Cerebral palsy is diagnosed through a comprehensive medical history
and exam. The healthcare provider should have experience in neurological
examination and assessment of impaired children. Unfortunately, no one
single test can determine if a child has cerebral palsy. Blood and urine
tests may identify some of the more common congenital malfunctions of
metabolism and brain imaging studies can detect structural changes in
the brain. Physical and behavioral signs are also examined.
The costs associated with treatment and maintenance for a child with cerebral
palsy can be devastating to a family. According to the National Institute
of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the average lifetime cost of a person
with cerebral palsy is over $900,000. This does not account for out of
pocket expenses like hospital care, equipment, medication, and housing
modifications. By the end of a child’s life, the costs associated
with the condition are exorbitant. If your child is suffering from cerebral
palsy because of medical negligence, the cerebral palsy lawyers at the
Law Offices of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt may be able to help.
We have a particular interest in
birth injury cases and we regularly obtain multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements
on behalf of families with children that have unnecessarily suffered as
a result of medical negligence during the pregnancy or birthing process.
There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but the condition does not worsen
throughout the child’s life. Early and ongoing treatment can help
reduce disabilities associated with cerebral palsy. Proper treatment can
improve quality of life, enhance social and academic participation, increase
strength, and prevent complications. Treatment focuses on allowing the
individual to reach the highest possible level of independence. Depending
on the needs and care of an individual child, the following options are
- Physical and Occupational Therapy: Muscle training and exercise may improve
strength, balance, and mobility, while tuning motor skills can guide a
patient to live as independently as possible;
- Speech Therapy: Speech therapists can assist the child with speech and
language skills or introduce alternative means of communication;
- Behavioral Therapy: Psychological techniques to improve physical, mental,
and communicative skills may assist with behavioral and emotional problems;
- Medication: Medications may relax tight muscles and minimize tremors and
- Orthotic Devices: Braces can improve muscle function and mobility; and
- Surgery: Surgery may help loosen tight muscles or correct abnormalities.
Books & Resources
For more information on cerebral palsy, the following resources are available: