Cerebral Palsy Prognosis
Cerebral palsy manifests in different individuals in very different ways. Some people with cerebral palsy respond better to treatment than others, and some people are affected by the disorder more severely than others. A great number of children and infants diagnosed with cerebral palsy may expect to live for a normal length of time. Since the condition affects the brain, which controls a highly complex and interconnected system of organs and functions, the prognosis for a child with cerebral palsy is influenced by a number of factors, including the area of the brain that was damaged before or during birth, and the extent of damage.
Factors that Influence Cerebral Palsy Outcomes
Cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, meaning it does not typically worsen over time. Nevertheless, there are numerous variables that have a significant impact on long-term outcomes of individuals with cerebral palsy. The following are a number of basic factors that can affect your child’s cerebral palsy prognosis. By knowing and understanding these contributing factors, you can better prepare for and address the individual needs of your child with cerebral palsy.
Severity of Impairment
One of the most important factors affecting your child’s prognosis is the severity of his or her impairment due to cerebral palsy. Some individuals suffer from pronounced developmental disabilities, severely impacted motor skills, and even difficulty swallowing on their own. Some suffer from frequent and intense seizures. If your child has only mild mobility or developmental impairment, her or his prognosis will compare favorably to these more severe cases. If your child suffers from severe symptoms but responds well to the wide range of treatment options available, her or his prognosis will again be brighter than the prognosis of someone who does not respond well to treatment. To learn more about the signs of cerebral palsy, visit our Cerebral Palsy Symptoms page.
Motor Skills and Mobility
Motor skill and mobility impairment are likely an integral component of your child’s overall prognosis given that limited mobility can increase the risk of your child developing additional medical issues. A child whose cerebral palsy results in quadriplegia will likely have a dimmer prognosis than a child who can walk with assistive devices, operate a wheelchair, or a child who does not require any assistance to walk whatsoever.
Limited mobility can affect a child’s ability to exercise and socialize with other children, impacting both physical and mental health. Lack of mobility can also cause immediate problems like bed sores and ulcers. The more your child can exercise and strengthen their immune system, the better their prognosis will likely be.
Nutrition and Feeding
Some children with cerebral palsy are unable to feed themselves. These children are more prone to malnutrition than other children, but devices like feeding tubes can help improve their prognosis. Caregivers must closely monitor diet and nutrition for children who cannot nourish themselves, and these caregivers must also be on the alert for related problems like lung inflammation, choking, pneumonia, etc.
Children who can feed themselves often have a better prognosis, but caregivers for all individuals affected by cerebral palsy would be well-advised to work with a certified nutritionist recommended by your pediatrician. There are many nutritionists who specialize in creating diet plans for children with special needs.
Audial and Visual Development
Relatively few studies have been conducted linking audial and visual development with the prognosis for cerebral palsy, but it goes without saying that ensuring affected children can adequately see and hear conveys a host of benefits. Positive communication skills can lead to increased socialization and mental stimulation, resulting in concomitant mental health benefits. Your pediatrician and specialized medical team can help you arrange communication, speech, and related therapy sessions to assist your child in seeing, hearing, and communicating with both you and her or his friends and loved ones. You can read more about the treatment options for cerebral palsy on our Cerebral Palsy Treatments and Therapies page.
If you would like to discuss your child’s cerebral palsy prognosis with a dedicated cerebral palsy attorney, call (866)-708-8617 today. Our team will investigate your child’s prenatal care and delivery to uncover signs of possible medical negligence. We charge nothing for the consultation or our services unless we recover compensation for you and your family.
- Life expectancy in severe cerebral palsy, Archives of Disease in Childhood
- Gross Motor Function Classification System for Cerebral Palsy