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What is Cerebral Palsy?

California parents may know that cerebral palsy is a multi-faceted group of disorders that may affect a child's motor skills, balance, intellectual development, speech, vision and hearing. CCP is divided into four categories: spastic, ataxic, dyskinetic and mixed. The classification refers to the type of muscle problem associated with each form. The degree of symptomatic expression varies and reflects the degree of injury. Most cases occur due to oxygen deprivation before birth or shortly after delivery.

Cerebral palsy is diagnosed by developmental delay. Since specific milestones are generally reached at a certain age, delay may be indicative of CP. A child whose legs are stiff and scissor or cross when they are picked up may be showing developmental delay. Later examples include the inability to stand and crawl at 12 months. Speech and visual problems may surface in time. Since early intervention assists the child in meeting some developmental landmarks, being able to diagnose the problem early is essential. Intervention to help the child meet developmental marks may happen if CP is suspected.

The cause of CP may be related to maternal infection during pregnancy, placental abruption, uterine rupture, lack of adequate blood to the brain during labor and delivery or fetal stroke. Fetal monitor abnormalities or other signs and symptoms at birth may make it necessary for the infant to be in the neonatal ICU.

Early intervention may be beneficial for a child's ability to cope and might include braces or learning techniques. If birthing ended in admission to the ICU, the parents may consult with an attorney to advocate for a full neonatal evaluation prior to leaving the hospital. If doctor error was involved in delivery or perinatal care, the attorney may file a malpractice suit to pay for the expenses due to future care.

Source: Cerebralpalsy.org, 'Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE, also known as Intrapartum Asphyxia", 2014

Source: CDC, "Facts About Cerebral Palsy", October 16, 2014

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