An acquired brain injury (ABI) is a type of brain damage that can affect infants, children, or adults. In some cases, cerebral palsy could be the result of an ABI that causes damage to the baby during or after birth. No matter the age of the patient, an acquired brain injury could lead to mild or severe disability and impairment, and these issues could be permanent or temporary.
There are several therapies and treatments that can assist a person with an ABI. These methods can help an individual recover from the injury or learn how to live to their fullest potential with a permanent disability.
More About Acquired Brain Injuries
Acquired brain injuries occur after a baby is born. The injury is due to some form of external trauma like an infection or a blow to the head during the labor and delivery process. The blow to the head can also occur at any other point in a person’s life. Strokes can also lead to acquired brain injuries.
All damage or trauma to the baby’s brain before it is born is classified as a congenital brain injury. The brain can also sustain damage due to degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, although these are not considered ABIs.
What Is Acquired Cerebral Palsy
Around 10% of diagnosed cerebral palsy cases in children are acquired brain injuries. This means the baby’s brain was damaged after birth, but before the baby’s mind was completely developed.
The time between birth and complete brain development is between two and five years. A child can experience an acquired injury after this time period, and the injury may cause neurological damage, but the condition will not be classified as cerebral palsy (CP). Even if a child is not diagnosed with CP, they may still be treated for CP if they have symptoms that are similar to the condition.
Does Your Child Have Cerebral Palsy?
There are signs to look for that can indicate that your child has CP. All of these signs are apparent at birth but may become easier to see as your baby gets older.
If your baby has low muscle tone and feels “floppy” when you pick them up, or can’t hold their head up while lying on their stomachs when they are a few months old, this could be an indicator of cerebral palsy.
You should also contact your doctor if your baby can’t roll over or sit up independently by the time they are six months old. Some babies with CP may also favor one side of their body when rolling, sleeping, or exhibiting motor skills.
As your child ages, it is important to note that the brains of toddlers and children with CP are injured, the injury doesn’t get progressively worse with age. Depending on the severity of CP, young children may not learn to walk until they are older than 18 months. They may also be delayed in their speaking and may not say understandable words until they are two years old or older.
When Does a Doctor Diagnose Cerebral Palsy?
CP is a disability that is very complex and doctors may take a while to provide an official diagnosis. Your child’s pediatrician may suspect that your baby has cerebral palsy if they notice delayed motor skills, floppy or very tight muscle tone, or poor posture.
Babies who are born prematurely should be monitored closely and should have an MRI scan to check for CP. However, most children with cerebral palsy are born full term, and the symptoms of CP don’t show up until the child fails to reach certain milestones.
The doctor may also conduct a General Movements Assessment can be conducted from the time the baby is born until the infant is five months old. The assessment is an accurate way to diagnose CP, but the test doesn’t indicate the severity of the condition. If the General Movements Assessment suggests that an infant is at risk for CP, it is important to start treatment right away. If you have noticed warning signs of cerebral palsy in your child, scheduling tests and treatment as soon as possible is ideal. If your child is diagnosed with CP, you may need to contact an attorney who can help you determine whether you are eligible for a medical malpractice case and a settlement for your child’s pain and suffering.
About the Author:
Katherine Webre is a passionate writer with years of experience in legal. She has dedicated her career to represent the most vulnerable among us, children who have suffered severe injustice. Beyond legal action, Katherine also takes up the pen to raise awareness and inform audiences about birth injuries. By sharing her expertise, she hopes to empower people to act against any prejudice and works as a collaborative editor for Birth Injury Lawyer.