Cerebral palsy - signs and symptoms in children and young adults Image

Cerebral palsy - signs and symptoms in children and young adults

Posted: 12/11/2015

The parts of the body affected by cerebral palsy (CP), the level of severity and combination of symptoms can differ for each child. We have and continue to represent a number of families with children with CP, some of whom have greater disabilities and difficulties than others.

Recently, for example, we have settled a case where the young man with CP has good mobility and considerable cognitive ability; indeed he is looking to attend university and recently passed his driving test. However, he is vulnerable and requires considerable psychiatric support in particular. Another young man whose claim has also settled recently has some degree of mobility but increasingly relies upon a wheelchair outdoors. Although he can communicate and express his wishes, he suffers from intractable epilepsy. Other children and young people with CP may have little or no control over their movements or speech, difficulties with swallowing, breathing, head and neck control, bladder and bowel control and may also face eating and digestive problems. At worst CP can cause tetraplegia.

The following poem was written by a child with CP, with a little help from her mum, and gives an insight into her life:

“Cerebral palsy, just what is it, you may ask. It is a disorder that makes moving a difficult task.
It affects my motor skills; I can't move right. If I do, my muscles become rigid and tight.
I also can't talk much, just can say a few words. When I speak, my voice is seldom heard.
I am in a wheelchair, I can't walk well at all. In fact, if I were to walk, I would probably fall.
My muscles are weak and they can't hold me up. I can't even feed myself or drink from a cup.
I have a tube in my belly; I can't swallow or chew. But that is okay as it's the only thing for me to do.
I have to have a lot of therapy, stretching and stuff, but when I hurt, I let them know that it's enough!
But despite my needing help, I do manage okay. I'd rather be like this than be a mean kid any day.”

When it comes to assessing the condition and prognosis of a child with CP, what their future needs will be and how best these can be met, there is an involved process of bringing together an experienced team of neurology, nursing care, occupational therapy, accommodation, speech and language therapy, aids and equipment, physiotherapy and psychology experts.

The value of the claim for damages tends to be driven predominantly by the extent of the professional care a child with CP will require for the rest of his or her life to maximise independence, so far as possible. This, therefore, is often the greatest area of contention between the parties to a birth injury cerebral palsy claim.









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