Symptoms of cerebral palsy can appear quickly after birth or take years to manifest. Generally, symptoms are more apparent in children who are more severely affected. In most cases, parents or doctors recognize signs and symptoms, and the child gets a diagnosis before age two.
Most children with cerebral palsy exhibit symptoms as toddlers and fail to meet important motor milestones during this period. These symptoms cause their doctor to refer them for testing, and they receive their diagnosis.
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Some Common Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
It is important to understand that the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly. There are four types of cerebral palsy, and all affect patients differently. In addition, each child has their own symptoms that impact their motor skills and coordination. These symptoms could include:
- Muscle tone that is too stiff or too loose
- Spasticity, including stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes
- Rigidity, including still muscles without exaggerated reflexes
- Ataxia, including issues with balance and muscle coordination
- Tremors, tics, and other involuntary movements
- Characteristic slow, writhing movements
- Significant delays in reaching motor-related developmental milestones, such as sitting up, pulling up, crawling, and walking
- Using primarily one side of the body
- Unusual gait
- Toe walking
- Problems with sucking, drooling, eating, or swallowing
- Delays in speech
- Difficulty with fine motor skills
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Cerebral Palsy Affects All Children Differently
Cerebral palsy can affect movement in the whole body, one side of the body, just the legs, or only one limb. Some children have intellectual disabilities, while others have above average intelligence. Some have several co-occurring conditions, while others have none. Cerebral palsy is not progressive, so your child should not suffer additional impairments unless complications occur.
Seizures are often the only sign of brain injury in newborns, and epilepsy is common in children with cerebral palsy. In addition, there are other neurological issues sometimes associated with cerebral palsy. Depending on the areas of your child’s brain that suffered an injury, this could include:
- Loss of vision
- Loss of hearing
- Intellectual disabilities
- Tactile and sensory concerns
- Issues getting adequate nutrition
- Oral diseases and complications
- Urinary incontinence
Some complications that are common in children with cerebral palsy can cause impairment and additional issues if not treated quickly and aggressively. This may include:
- Muscle tightening and shortening, known as contracture
- Joint deformities or dislocations
- Malnutrition related to difficulty eating or swallowing
- Depression and other mental health concerns
- Breathing disorders, heart disease, or lung disease
- Degenerative osteoarthritis
- Low bone density, known as osteopenia
With medication, therapy, and other efforts, families of children with cerebral palsy may be able to prevent, manage, or halt many of these complications. It may be possible to manage seizures, for example, or prevent contractures that lead to additional problems with mobility, as well as additional pain.
This is why getting a diagnosis and the proper treatment is so important. Recognizing the signs and symptoms is often the first step in this process.
You May be Able to Pursue Compensation on Your Child’s Behalf
In some cases, a cerebral palsy diagnosis, or a missed diagnosis can support a medical malpractice case. Doctors have a responsibility to prevent this type of birth injury when possible. In addition, they need to recognize symptoms and diagnose children as soon as possible. A birth injury lawyer can review your case to determine if you are eligible to file a claim.
If your lawyer uncovers proof that your child’s doctor or another medical care professional or facility acted negligently and this caused your child additional pain and suffering, they can help you build a case and take action on your behalf.
There are time limits on how long you can wait to file a lawsuit in these cases, though. Your birth injury lawyer will be able to explain the statute of limitations and any laws that might toll the statute of limitations for birth injury cases in your state.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Child’s Cerebral Palsy
In some cases, medical negligence on the part of a doctor or another medical care provider can cause or worsen the symptoms of cerebral palsy in a child. If this happened to your infant or child, you have a right to try to hold the liable parties accountable.
The team from the Birth Injury Lawyers Group will review your case for free and may be able to help you pursue a payout on your child’s behalf. Call (800) 222-9529 today.