Children With Cerebral Palsy Often Face Many Challenges as They Age

David W. Hodges
David Hodges is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice on personal injury claims.

A few months after the birth of your baby, you feared the worst and your doctor confirmed your suspicions: your baby was Shape of a Head Filled With Cerebral Palsy Related Wordsunhealthy. After a few tests, it was revealed that your little one was suffering from cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. You may have noticed a few of the warning signs of cerebral palsy, but you were still surprised with the diagnosis.

The degrees of severity regarding cerebral palsy can vary from person to person. Some children are affected mildly and don’t have to rely on any special equipment to move or walk. Other children, however, may require the use of a wheelchair to move and will require lifelong care.

The Types of Cerebral Palsy

Doctors classify cerebral palsy according to the main type of movement disorder involved. This depends on which area of the brain is affected. Children with cerebral palsy may experience stiff muscles, uncontrollable movements, or poor balance and coordination. They may experience only one type of disorder, or all, depending on where the brain damage takes place.

The four main types of cerebral palsy are as follows:

  • Spastic. The most common type of cerebral palsy, spastic cerebral palsy affects about 80 percent of those with the condition. People with spastic cerebral palsy have increased muscle tone, which makes them stiff. As a result, their movements are often awkward. Spastic cerebral palsy is typically described by which parts of the body are affected: spastic diplegia occurs mostly in the legs; spastic hemiplegia affects only one side of the body; and spastic quadriplegia affects the entire body, including all four limbs, the face, and the trunk.
  • Ataxic. People with ataxic cerebral palsy often have problems with balance and coordination, including walking, writing, making quick movements, and controlling their bodies.
  • Dyskinetic. People with dyskinetic cerebral palsy have trouble controlling the movements of their hands, feet, arms, and legs, which makes it difficult to stand and walk. Their movements are often uncontrollable and sometimes the face and tongue are affected. 
  • Mixed. This type of cerebral palsy occurs when a person has more than one type of cerebral palsy.

What the Future Holds for Children With Cerebral Palsy

The good news is that cerebral palsy isn’t a degenerative disease, which means that it doesn’t get worse as a person ages—no matter what type of cerebral palsy he suffers from. Unfortunately, aging with cerebral palsy doesn’t come without problems. People with the condition are forced to struggle with their physical impairments every day, which can take its toll on their bodies. As they age, those with cerebral palsy may experience:

  • Increased pain. Pain is the most common problem for older people who suffer from cerebral palsy. Discomfort in the neck, back, knees, and hips are typically the most common sites for pain. Many people who suffer from cerebral palsy often experience early-onset arthritis, as well.
  • Dental health problems. Because it is often difficult to find dentists who are able to work with people who have cerebral palsy, since it is often difficult for them to stay still and control their movements, dental health problems can occur. As a result, people who suffer with cerebral palsy may experience dental problems.
  • Long-term effects from medications. Those who live with cerebral palsy are often required to take medications for a large portion of their lives. Over time, the medication can have adverse effects on the body.
  • Trouble walking. About 25 percent of people who suffer from cerebral palsy who are able to walk as children aren’t capable of doing so as they age. As a result, they may require special equipment in order to get around. 
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing. Impaired motor function can create problems with eating and swallowing, which can worsen over time.

Take Your Child’s Future in Your Hands

You are a dedicated parent and are willing to do whatever it takes for your child, even if that means providing medical care for the rest of his life. The cost of health care for a person with cerebral palsy is extremely expensive and can easily lead you into debt. If your child’s cerebral palsy is the result of a doctor’s mistake, you may be able to seek compensation. The attorneys at Kennedy Hodges, LLP, want to help you hold the person responsible for your child’s condition accountable for his negligence. Schedule your free consultation by calling 855-947-0707 to learn more about how we can help.