Parents face immense emotional challenges when their newborn child suffers from any type of disability, birth defect or health complication such as cerebral palsy. They worry about the child’s wellbeing.
These parents face logistical challenges, too. They may have no idea about what behaviors are normal and healthy for their child’s condition and what to expect as the child grows.
If you are the new parents of a child with cerebral palsy, the following is a brief guide about what you should expect and an introduction to helpful resources that are available to you.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children. Damage to a child’s brain during its development causes the condition, which greatly affects a child’s movement and muscle tone.
Cerebral palsy symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis. Some children display symptoms, while others do not or display symptoms at different levels of severity. For example, some people with cerebral palsy may be able to walk, while others may be confined to a wheelchair.
The complications associated with cerebral palsy include:
Children who have cerebral palsy often experience delays in reaching motor skill milestones. A parent may not know what to expect in terms of when the baby will sleep through the night on his or her own, start crawling or sit up.
A child’s development is typically split into four categories: emotional growth, cognitive achievements, social interaction and physical progressions/growth. One of the most telling signs of cerebral palsy is that a child fails to reach the standard points of development within each of these four stages by a certain time. While some children develop skills slower than others, failing to reach numerous milestones is indicative of cerebral palsy.
Most children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy by 18 months of age. If your child has cerebral palsy, it can be difficult to say if he or she will achieve certain physical or cognitive abilities, and if so, when.
For example, most children without cerebral palsy will engage in babbling and baby talk, eat soft foods and sit up without support by six months of age. They will roll over, move objects and respond to their name by nine months. By 18 months, they will crawl, stand, begin walking, play and say a couple of dozen words. Whether a child with cerebral palsy will do these things is impossible to say. You should speak with your doctor about what to expect.
If you have a child with cerebral palsy, your first resource and support system should be your child’s doctor. In addition to those in the medical community, there are a number of support groups and other resources for parents, including CPDailyLiving.com.
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., we can provide your family with legal support if you believe your child’s cerebral palsy occurred as the result of medical malpractice. If you would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today, please call us now or contact us online.