Athetoid Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral palsy is a group of chronic conditions that hinder movement and coordination. Most of the time, cerebral palsy occurs from trauma to a baby's brain either while the baby is in the uterus, during birth, or immediately after birth. One common cause of cerebral palsy is lack of oxygen to the baby's brain. However, there can be many other causes of cerebral palsy. One type of cerebral palsy is athetoid cerebral palsy, which is usually caused by damage to the part of the brain called the basal ganglia, or the middle of the brain. Athetoid cerebral palsy is fairly common, affecting around 10 percent of all children that are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It is sometimes called dyskinetic cerebral palsy.

If your child is diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy, you can expect uncontrolled muscle action, especially in the face, arms, and trunk of the body. Usually, this results in movements that are completely involuntary. Involuntary movements may interfere with everyday activities, such as speaking, feeding, and holding. Occasionally, the facial muscles can also be affected by this condition. Children who have athetoid cerebral palsy that affects the face will grimace uncontrollably, and also may drool. While it is disturbing to see a child with these conditions, the child with athetoid cerebral palsy rarely has any developmental disabilities.

A child with athetoid cerebral palsy will experience some difficulties while learning to deal with these problems. One of these difficulties is the fact that the problems associated with the disease will intensify when the child is excited or stressed. This can make it look as though the child is out of control when it is really simply a result of the disease.

Children who are suffering from athetoid cerebral palsy will have a difficult, sometimes impossible, time holding their body in any form of posture. For example, they may not be able to consistently hold their body in an upright, standing position. Because of this difficulty, children are often diagnosed with athetoid cerebral palsy after they show developmental delays, particularly in crawling, standing, and walking.

Another problem that a child with athetoid cerebral palsy may face is difficulty with small motor hand movements, such as holding an object in his or her fingers. This creates difficulties in school and in eating and drinking. These problems can often be helped through physical therapy. Children who have difficulty controlling their facial muscles and speech functions can benefit from speech therapy.

While physical therapy and speech therapy are helpful and sometimes essential for the child with athetoid cerebral palsy, many parents find the cost of this continuing therapy to be prohibitive. This is where an attorney can help. If the athetoid cerebral palsy was caused by a birth injury, the parents and the child can seek compensation through the legal system. The laws surrounding birth injuries can be confusing, particularly for those who are not educated in law, so seeking the help of a qualified attorney is essential when dealing with a case of athetoid cerebral palsy.

A lawyer can help sort through the laws and find out what a child is qualified to receive for his or her injuries. Often the amount that birth injury lawyers win for their clients is enough to pay for all of the medical treatment and devices that the child needs, far into adulthood. This takes the financial burden off of the parents, allowing them to take care of their child without worrying about the cost.


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