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Ataxic cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder affecting movement. In this article, we define the term “ataxic cerebral palsy” and explain how it relates to birth injury law. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ataxic cerebral palsy is a disorder affecting motor function in the hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, and/or speech
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy can cause difficulty with balance, coordination, control, and precise movement
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum - the part of the brain that coordinates motor function - before, during, or after birth
  • Symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy include tremors, trouble walking, unsteady gait, slow eye movements, and more
  • Treatments for ataxic cerebral palsy include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medication
  • When ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by negligence and errors on the part of medical professionals, it can be considered medical malpractice 

What Is Ataxic Cerebral Palsy?

Ataxic cerebral palsy is a disorder that affects motor function. It can affect the hands, arms, legs, feet, eyes, and speech. Ataxic cerebral palsy is characterized by difficulty with balance and coordination and caused by damage to the brain’s motor control centers. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy have a hard time controlling their movements and struggle with precise movements such as writing and grasping small objects. 

Causes of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum before, during, or shortly after birth. The cerebellum is a part of the brain responsible for coordinating motor function. It works by translating balance and coordination commands from parts of the brain like the motor cortex to the central nervous system, helping to regulate posture and motor learning and communication.

The cerebellum can be damaged in multiple ways including:

  • Brain hemorrhaging from fetal stroke
  • Loss of oxygen from placental failure or breech birth
  • Infections in the womb
  • Head trauma during or after birth

Symptoms of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Signs and symptoms of ataxic cerebral palsy include:

  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Imprecise motor skills
  • Issues with depth perception
  • Trouble walking and balancing
  • Over-correcting movements
  • Trouble grasping objects
  • Struggling with speech
  • Slow eye movements
  • Walking with feet spread far apart
  • Trouble bringing hands together
  • Unsteady gait
  • Trouble with repetitive movements

Treatment for Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Treatments for ataxic cerebral palsy include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medication 

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy and Birth Injury Law

One of the main causes of ataxic cerebral palsy is an injury to the cerebellum during childbirth. This can be caused by a number of factors including mistakes on the part of the healthcare team such as:

  • Failing to treat illness during pregnancy
  • Failing to properly address fetal distress during labor
  • Delaying C-section
  • Incorrectly using forceps or other birthing tools
  • Not treating jaundice
  • Causing direct trauma to the brain

All of these actions constitute a failure to meet the duty of care owed by a healthcare professional and may be considered medical malpractice.

If your child has ataxic cerebral palsy caused by negligence on the part of a medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain, and suffering. It is recommended that you speak to an experienced birth injury lawyer who will be able to help you navigate your case and get the compensation you deserve.

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