Ataxic cerebral palsy is one of the less common forms of the condition, where children will have difficulty with balance and coordination. Ataxic cerebral palsy will impact many different areas of the child’s life. If your child’s case of ataxic cerebral palsy was caused by medical negligence, your family may be entitled to financial compensation.
First, you need to contact a birth injury attorney. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has a track record of getting results for families with an ataxic cerebral palsy lawsuit
What You Need to Know About Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
The word ataxia means the loss of full control of body movements. This is not a common form of cerebral palsy, but it is a serious one. It will affect your child’s ability to maintain balance. Ataxic cerebral palsy is one of the more common birth injuries, but it is far less common than spastic CP.
How Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Happens
Ataxia occurs when there is a brain injury to the cerebellum before, during, or shortly after birth. The cerebellum fine-tunes movement in the brain, and an injury in this region will lead to struggles with controlling movement. It is the balance center for both the upper limbs and lower limbs.
There are numerous risk factors for ataxic cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders. These risk factors could include:
- Infections during the gestation period
- Trauma to the head during labor and delivery
- Multiple births
- The use of fertility drugs
In addition, ataxic cerebral palsy can result from oxygen deprivation during the delivery process. It is a common birth injury that results from medical malpractice. The child could also suffer from head trauma during delivery, which could even include an accidental mild bump.
The Difference Between Spastic Cerebral Palsy and Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
According to the Centers for Disease Control, spastic cerebral palsy comprises over 80% of the cases of the condition. Ataxic cerebral palsy is rare, but no less serious.
Spastic CP results from an injury to the motor cortex. The child will experience stiffness, and their body will be too rigid. In ataxic cerebral palsy, they will have difficulty controlling their movement. The problem may be that their body is far less stiff than it should be.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Diagnosed
Ataxic cerebral palsy is not diagnosed immediately at the first instant when the parents notice symptoms. A cerebral palsy diagnosis usually happens between the ages of 18-24 months. Your child may suffer from one or more of the symptoms  below and not have ataxic CP.
The doctors will run a variety of tests on your child to confirm a cerebral palsy diagnosis. The tests can include:
- CT scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging tests
- Brain scans
- Genetic testing
- Metabolic testing
Doctors may run more than one of these tests to reach their final diagnosis.
Symptoms of Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
Here are common symptoms of ataxic CP:
- Your child will struggle to perform voluntary movements, often performing inaccurate movements and experiencing unusual accelerations
- They will have poor balance and depth perception (the impaired balance comes from the damage to the motor cortex)
- Ataxic cerebral palsy means poor muscle control
- Ataxia affects walking because they will walk with their feet spread
- Your child will have difficulty with fine motor skills
- Your child will have slow eye movements
- There will be speech impacts, such as a monotone voice
In addition, ataxia affects speech. Your child may have difficulty expressing their thoughts through speech. They may seem like they are struggling for words.
Further, your child may suffer from swallowing ataxia. This is where ataxic CP can be life-threatening.
Treatment for Ataxic Cerebral Palsy
As soon as your child is diagnosed with ataxic cerebral palsy, you should seek professional medical advice about the best path forward for your child. Early intervention is key to helping your child live their best possible life. Usually, you will have an entire treatment team, led by a neurologist that contains a number of therapists.
Even though cerebral palsy is an incurable condition, early intervention will make a significant difference in the child’s life and improve their long-term prognosis.
With ataxic cerebral palsy, the child will need extensive therapies and treatment, including:
- Physical therapy– physical therapists would help condition the muscles involved in the movement, including working on the person’s legs. Physical therapy could help the child work on the movements required for daily life and help reduce shaky movements
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy– an occupational therapist will work with your child on precise movements and building their fine motor skills
- Recreational therapy
In addition, your child may suffer from learning disabilities due to their brain injury. Therefore, they may need special education.
There are other courses of treatment that may help your child. For example, the doctor could prescribe muscle relaxants. These could help relieve the tremor difficulties that your child is experiencing.
Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Is Often the Result of Medical Negligence
Cerebral palsy does not often occur on its own without something going wrong. Oftentimes, the doctor has made a mistake at some point during the birth process, whether it is in prenatal care or during labor and delivery.
When your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, your family may be entitled to significant financial compensation. Most cerebral palsy cases are worth seven figures because this represents the lifetime costs of treating the condition.
Your child would also be entitled to pain and suffering damages. A birth injury attorney could help your family put value on your case.
Birth Injury Attorneys Litigating Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Lawsuits
You should not be under the mistaken impression that there is nothing that you can do about your child’s birth injuries. You can take legal action to hold the doctor responsible for the injury legally accountable. Then, the doctor would owe you and your family damages.
Resources:  NIH