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Cerebral Palsy: Its Symptoms and Complications

About two to three children out of every 1,000 in the United States suffer from cerebral palsy. It affects people of all ethnicities, sexes and socioeconomic groups. Cerebral palsy is a physical disability of the brain that causes many hardships, both financial and emotional, for children and their families.


There are three different types of cerebral palsy. The first is spastic cerebral palsy in which the child is stiff and has difficulty with movement. The second type is athetoid cerebral palsy where the child has uncontrolled and involuntary movements. The last type is ataxic cerebral palsy where the child has difficulty with balance and depth perception.


Symptoms of cerebral palsy appear within the first three years of life. Common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal muscle tone resulting in slouching
  • Delay of developmental milestones, including speaking or crawling
  • Problems with feeding and sucking
  • Unusual crawling
  • Stiff or floppy movements
  • Poor balance
  • Easily startled
  • Awkward positioning when lying down
  • Coordination problems
  • Hearing or eyesight issues
  • Problems with bowel or bladder control
  • Seizures
  • Limited range of motion
  • Swallowing problems


Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebrum. The cerebrum is the part of the brain responsible for many things including: muscle control, learning ability, memory and communication. It can be caused by complications before the baby is born.

Cerebral palsy is sometimes caused by the negligence of doctors or nurses during labor and delivery. If the doctor improperly uses forceps, fails to properly monitor the baby's heartbeat or fails to ensure that the baby is receiving oxygen, it can cause damage to the cerebrum, causing the baby to develop cerebral palsy.


Cerebral palsy cannot be cured and treatment usually involves multiple medical professionals who help parents to assist in their children's development. Treatment can include therapy, medication, braces or surgery. Treatment will be different for every child and may be very expensive depending upon the child's needs.

What Can You Do:

Raising a child with cerebral palsy is often a very expensive undertaking due to the necessary treatment. If your child has cerebral palsy and you believe negligence caused by doctors or nurses during delivery is the cause, consider contacting an attorney specializing in medical malpractice.


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