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Living with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy Life Expectancy in Children

It is difficult to make a general statement about the life expectancy of a child with cerebral palsy. So much depends upon the age of the child at the time of diagnosis and the type and severity of the disease. Cerebral palsy is an umbrella term that encompasses many different types of the condition, each having its own characteristics.

In a young infant, it may be difficult to even diagnose the disease. But as the child grows older, the characteristics become clearer and the severity of the disease is more evident.

Fewer than 25 percent of children who are the most severely disabled by cerebral palsy live past 2 years of age. However, those with only mild disease can expect to have normal lifespan. The factors that affect life expectancy are:

  • The number of impairments and the major disabilities
  • How severe the disease is
  • How mobile the child is
  • Problems with feeding
  • Seizures
  • Intellectual ability or impairment
  • Visual acuity
  • Ability to breathe or respiratory function

Cerebral palsy results from an injury to the brain. It becomes evident, however, mostly through problems with the muscles. These can range from facial movements and expressions to difficulty moving the arms, legs, or torso. The extent of the original impairment, i.e., the brain injury, does not worsen with age. Other factors, though, that result from the physical and mental challenges the disease presents, can worsen as the child and then the adult gets older.

What Does Having Cerebral Palsy Mean?

Persons with cerebral palsy can live near normal lives if their condition and their motor function are barely compromised. Others with more severe brain injury and impaired motor disabilities can be confined to a wheelchair and need help in everyday activities such as feeding and dressing. They may have difficulty speaking if their mouths and facial muscles are involved. They may be unable to walk or use their hands to perform fine motor skills.

The sooner the child with cerebral palsy has therapy, the better the outcome.

If your baby is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the road ahead can be quite challenging. To find out if you are eligible for compensation that will help you provide your child with the best treatment available, please contact our cerebral birth injury attorneys today.