Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder which affects a person’s bodily movements and muscle coordination. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define cerebral palsy as a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is also the most common childhood motor disability. It can be caused by abnormal brain development or by a brain injury. The CDC says that CP symptoms vary from mild to more severe. Mild symptoms might look like a child who has an awkward gait, but can walk without assistance, while in a more severe case, the child might not be able to walk without special equipment or they might not be able even to stand on their own, and they could require care for the rest of their lives.
Classifications of cerebral palsy
Doctors classify CP under four main categories, depending on the type of movement disorder. When different parts of the brain are affected, the symptoms present in different ways:
- Stiff muscles (spastic). About 80 percent of cerebral palsy cases are spastic CP, which presents as stiff muscles that make movement awkward and difficult. Spastic CP can affect the legs, just one side of the body, or all four limbs, the trunk and the face, leaving the person immobile and often with developmental disabilities and other symptoms.
- Uncontrollable movements (dyskenetic/athetoid). People who have dyskenetic CP have difficulty controlling the movement of their arms, legs, hands and feet. Their movements are uncontrollable, slow and jerky.
- Poor balance and coordination (ataxic). Ataxic CP causes problems with balance and coordination, fine motor skills and they can have a wobbly, unsteady gait when they walk.
- Mixed cerebral palsy. People who have symptoms of more than one type of cerebral palsy have mixed CP.
Cerebral palsy is not a disease; therefore, it is not progressive or degenerative. While the presenting symptoms do not necessarily get worse over time, they can change over time. Given that one of the causes of CP is brain injury that can be the result of a birth injury, parents of infants who have CP may want to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice attorney at Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. to discuss their legal options.
Plaxen Adler Muncy, P.A. provides comprehensive legal representation to victims of birth injury and medical negligence throughout Maryland. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Maryland birth injury attorney, please call 410-730-7737 or fill out our contact form. We can help.