Wednesday, October 6th is World Cerebral Palsy Day. On this day, the cerebral palsy community comes together to raise awareness for and celebrate those living (and thriving) with cerebral palsy (CP).
Here at Brown Trial Firm, we frequently represent individuals and families who have experienced a birth injury resulting in CP. With a little help and financial assistance, these individuals can lead independent and joyful lives, which is why we help ensure that they get the money they need if their injury was preventable and due to a doctor’s negligence.
Continue reading to learn more about what CP is and how you can join in celebrating World Cerebral Palsy Day.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a congenital birth defect that impacts the movement, muscles and posture of an individual. Impacting 17 million people worldwide, CP is the most common motor disability in children. Most often, CP is the result of brain damage occurring in a child before, during or just after they’re born.
There are 2 types of CP: congenital and acquired.
Brain damage that results from congenital CP typically occurs before birth and there’s no known cause. Congenital CP is the more common type at 85-90%. While there’s no single cause for congenital CP, there are a number of risk factors that increase the chance of a baby being born with the condition.
These risk factors include:
- Birth complications. Any birth complication that disrupts the flow of oxygen to the baby increases the risk of resulting in CP, including placenta detachment, umbilical cord problems and/or uterine rupture.
- ART treatments. Conceiving through assisted reproductive technology (ART) infertility treatments can increase the likelihood of birth injuries caused by multiple births and premature births.
- Jaundice and kernicterus. These conditions are caused by a buildup of bilirubin and can lead to kernicterus. Other times, kernicterus is caused when there is a difference between the mother’s and baby’s blood types (specifically ABO or Rh). The result is a baby’s red blood cells breaking down too quickly.
- Infection. Certain infections can cause the protein cytokines to rise and circulate. These proteins cause inflammation, which can result in brain damage.
- Low birthweight. Infants weighing under 5.5 lbs. (and particularly those under 3 lbs., 5 oz) are at a greater risk of suffering a birth injury.
- Maternal medical conditions. A mother who experiences thyroid issues, has a seizure disorder or has an intellectual disability has a slightly higher risk of their baby being born with congenital CP.
- Multiple births. The risk of birth injury is higher if a sibling dies before or shortly after birth.
- Premature birth. Children born before 37 weeks are at a higher risk of CP, especially those born before 32 weeks.
The brain damage associated with acquired CP can happen as many as 28 days after birth or longer. Common causes of acquired CP include:
- Disruptions in blood flow to the brain (for example, cerebrovascular accidents like a stroke or brain bleed)
- Head injury (like those resulting from car crashes or child abuse)
- Infection (for example, encephalitis and meningitis)
Facts and statistics about CP
- 17 million people live with CP in the world, and another 350 million people are directly impacted by being closely connected to an adult or child with CP.
- CP is permanent.
- Bodily impacts can vary widely, ranging from weakness in 1 hand to no voluntary bodily movement at all.
- 1 in 4 people with CP cannot speak.
- 1 in 4 people with CP can’t walk.
- 1 in 2 people with CP experience intellectual disabilities.
- 1 in 4 people with CP suffers from epilepsy.
How to celebrate World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 6th
If you are interested in celebrating World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 6, we invite you to join us in sharing any achievements made by someone you know who is living with CP. Also, pass along any solutions to problems they’ve discovered and voice the changes they’d like to see happen in the world of CP.
Need a jumping-off point for what to share about your or a loved one’s journey with CP?
Try one of these ideas shared by WorldCPDay.org:
- Share a story of discovery about a new way to use cooking utensils.
- Start a petition to increase wheelchair access at your school, work or another public area.
- Help others by lobbying your local representatives for policy changes.
- Simplify your life by developing new (and fun!) solutions to dress or groom yourself independently.
- Help build a social network or sports team for people with disabilities.
- Share artwork, music or another type of performance from a creator with CP.
While people living with cerebral palsy can lead an independent life, the condition often does require long-term medical care, treatment and rehabilitation which is prohibitively costly. If you believe that your child has CP due to a doctor’s mistake, you may be entitled to compensation.
Learn how adaptive equipment and assistive technology can improve the lives of kids with cerebral palsy and other birth injuries.