Frequently Asked Questions About Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy affects an estimated 764,000 people in the United States, and another 8,000 to 10,000 are diagnosed with this condition every year. Facing down this congenital disorder can be incredibly stressful, and some of the most common questions people ask when learning more about what it means include:

What is the life expectancy of someone with cerebral palsy?

While there have been no general studies looking into the life expectancy of people who suffer from cerebral palsy, the severity of the condition can have a dramatic effect. People with milder symptoms, and people respond well to occupational and physical therapy, especially those with no issues with their intellectual development often have the same life expectancy as someone without cerebral palsy. People with more severe symptoms have an expected lifespan closer to 30 years. Researchers have determined that the quality of care early in life can have a dramatic impact on someone with cerebral palsy’s life expectance.

Can people with cerebral palsy drive?

Advancements in technology have given a wider range of people the ability to drive, and with a doctor’s approval people with a disability like cerebral palsy could have their vehicle fitted with specialized equipment to retain independence. Some of the factors doctors will look for during their exam include:

  • Psychological health
  • Ability to understand and use adaptive/specialized equipment
  • Decision-making skills
  • Reaction time
  • Vision
  • Range of motion
  • Flexibility
  • Dexterity
  • Coordination
  • Muscle strength

What are the effects/symptoms of cerebral palsy?

The symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary depending on the severity of the person’s condition. Some of the more common coordination and movement-related symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Difficulty completing precise movements, like picking up utensils
  • Difficulty speaking or in speech development
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty walking
  • Favoring one side of the body over the other
  • Delayed development of motor functions
  • Athetosis
  • Involuntary tremors
  • Ataxia
  • Stiff muscle movements
  • Spastic muscle movements
  • Excessively floppy or stiff muscle tone

How does cerebral palsy affect development?

Depending on the severity of the condition, people diagnosed with cerebral palsy could face any number of development issues, including:

  • Physical disabilities like scoliosis
  • Lack of muscle tone and development
  • Difficulty speaking due to issues with muscle coordination
  • Issues with manual coordination
  • General delays in reaching early childhood milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling, etc.
  • Difficulty walking due to tendon and muscle stiffness

Cerebral palsy is often caused by a doctor’s negligent actions. If your life or the life of a loved one was permanently affected by this congenital disorder, you may be able to take legal action to fight for the compensation you need. Contact our Dallas birth injury lawyers at Aldous \ Walker LLP today to speak with a member of our firm about your options by calling us at (214) 307-6307 or by filling out our online form.

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