Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term for a group of incurable conditions affecting motor coordination and sometimes cognitive abilities, as well. Each cerebral palsy child will have unique symptoms and challenges, relying on a strategic combination of treatment efforts to improve quality of life. Thankfully, cerebral palsy is not progressive, meaning the symptoms and effects do not typically worsen over time.
The tricky thing with cerebral palsy is the complications that can arise due to the effects on the body. For example, the weak muscle tone typical of cerebral palsy patients can cause bone deterioration, making children prone to breaks and fractures.
Treatment is highly individualized, centered around each child’s presentation of symptoms and resulting complications. The ultimate goal of a treatment plan is to facilitate normalcy, encourage safety, and prevent physical or psychological harm. A team of caregivers is assembled, which may include surgeons, physical therapists, child psychologists, and other medical specialists.
Social integration and active participation in educational and recreational activities is a primary objective, along with symptom management.
Treatment for cerebral palsy may contain the following aspects of care:
- Physical therapy to improve movement, flexibility, and range of motion
- Wheelchairs, crutches, and other mobility equipment
- Orthotic devices such as braces to encourage proper muscle function and growth
- Medication to reduce tremors, muscles spasms, and rigidity
- Surgery to correct abnormal growth problems such as spine curvature or muscle tightness, or to facilitate normal movement
- Speech therapy to improve language and communication skills affected by the condition
- Occupational therapy to improve issues like hand movement, feeding, and swallowing
Paying for Treatment
Cerebral palsy treatment often sends affected families into financial crisis. The cost of specialty care continues to rise, and insurance caps mean more out-of-pocket costs than the average family can afford. If your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by a medical mistake, the law says you may have a right to recover medical expenses and other damages.