Will my child suffer more complications because he has cerebral palsy?

Being told that your child has or may have cerebral palsy is a horrifying experience. Your child is the most precious thing in your life, and to think that a birth disorder could cause him life-altering problems is heartbreaking.

The initial onset of cerebral palsy can be extremely hard on a child, causing seizures and muscle problems. Unfortunately, the even more tragic aspect of this disorder, is that it can also lead to additional complications as the child grows; in some cases even preventing him from being able to enjoy traditional family outings like riding bikes through Lincoln Park or playing catch at Meridian Hill.

Additional Complications of Cerebral Palsy

Although none of these effects is guaranteed to occur as a result of cerebral palsy, because the disorder affects both the spine as well as the brain, complications are a definite possibility. It is important to be aware of your child’s movements, actions, and development in order to identify any possible problems or complications as early as possible. The earlier they are detected, the better the treatment options. The signs to watch for include:

  • Cognitive impairments that result in low IQ. Since cognitive messages are disrupted, communication, reasoning, learning, and problem-solving may also become affected.
  • Seizure disorders. Muscle neurons may randomly fire and cause tremors and seizures.
  • Hearing and vision impairments. These are less common but possible with any brain injury, especially during childbirth.
  • Scoliosis. Since the muscles and neurons around the spine can’t function properly, the spine itself may start to collapse or curve in on itself.
  • Joint dysfunction. Muscles can’t adequately move and protect joints.
  • Contracture. Muscles may seize and contract, causing distortion of the muscles.

Washington D.C. has many specialty clinics for the treatment and care of children born with cerebral palsy, including the world-renowned Children’s National Medical Center. Cerebral palsy is a devastating disorder, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. Although complications may arise, your child can still have a full, productive and happy life with the help of proper treatment, efficient diagnoses and of course the love and support of family and friends.

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