Cerebral palsy (CP) affects each child differently. The effects of CP on the brain, muscles, and central nervous system can lead to other conditions which accompany CP. Some of these conditions cause severe impairment, while others can lead to deterioration in overall health.
About 30% to 50% of people with CP have seizures. Grand mal seizures are most common, but the seizures can be limited to one limb. Epilepsy puts people with CP at an elevated risk of falls and other accidents. Medications can be used to control the seizures, but these medications often have their own dangerous side effects.
Children with CP often have great difficulty eating and properly digesting their food. This can cause failure to thrive, resulting in the child gaining weight or growing very slowly, and being very small for his or her age.
Adolescents with CP may suffer from delayed or prolonged puberty, or conversely, may begin puberty very early.
The combination of spacicity and muscle weakness can mean an imbalance of muscle strength within the body so severe as to pull the spine out of alignment causing scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Scoliosis can be painful, can cause breathing difficulties, and can impair the function of internal organs.
Severe spacicity can also cause hip dislocation which is very painful, and can lead to other health problems over time if left untreated.
Sensory or perception impairments
People with CP sometimes have impaired sensory processing due to damage to the central nervous system. They may have difficulty recognizing objects by feel or have problems with visual or auditory processing.
Problems with visual and auditory processing are different from actual vision and hearing problems. It happens when the brain cannot recognize what the person is looking at or hearing and relate it to something that makes sense.
Up to two thirds of children with CP may experience intellectual impairment or mental retardation. The effects can vary widely. About 85% of people with CP who also have mental impairment will be able to live normal lives.
ADHD is very different from mental retardation and does not affect intelligence. Children with ADHD exhibit hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Obviously, it can be difficult to differentiate AHDH from normal childhood behaviors.
Depression is a very real concern with CP. The very nature of the condition and its related conditions can be very discouraging. Being unable to control body movements, looking and talking different to other children, being limited in what you can do, and often experiencing chronic physical pain can all easily lead to depression. It is important that depression not be overlooked. A positive outlook is the key to overcoming the difficulties of CP, and getting the most out of life.
Cerebral palsy is often the result of a birth injury caused by medical negligence. If your child suffers from CP, contact an experienced birth injury attorney today.