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ADD and Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of motor related disorders that usually stems from some brain related injury before, during, or shortly after birth.  The severity of the cerebral palsy is variable and can range from having a slight limp to being unable to walk or talk.  There have been recent explorations into the relationship of cerebral palsy with other disorders such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), also known as Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  ADD seems to be more common in children with cerebral palsy.

ADD is often diagnosed during youth, but can afflict children and adults alike.  When coupled with cerebral palsy, ADHD presents new and more complicated problems.  Usually symptoms of cerebral palsy will be apparent early on (by age of three at most).  While symptoms of ADD may occur before the age of 7, many people are not diagnosed until they are older.

It becomes more difficult to diagnose ADD when a child has existing problems stemming from cerebral palsy.  Since many children display signs of ADHD for years but do not eventually have the disorder, there have been guidelines set in order to diagnose ADHD better.  Often, early on, there is a burst of energy that a child exhibits normally - it is seemingly limitless energy.  In ADHD, the child must consistently exhibit the behavior for at least six months.

In addition there are some patterns that must be exhibited consistently for a diagnosis to be formally made.  Six or more of these symptoms must be present constantly for at least 6 months in the child with cerebral palsy:  Inattention to details & makes mistakes in homework, has trouble focusing on play activities, does not seem to listen when spoken to, does not do homework correctly or completely, has trouble organizing their time, avoids strenuous mental activity, loses things in a consistent manner, is very distracted, and is forgetful in small activities.

There are also many symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity that must be present to make an effective diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  They are unusually disruptive and can include fidgeting, inability to sit calmly, running or climbing inappropriately, inability to stay quiet, boundless energy, and talking a lot.  Other symptoms of ADHD in children with cerebral palsy include serious impulsive behavior.  These impulsive behaviors can include speaking to someone when they are asking them a question or talking to them, inability to wait in line or for their turn at something, and often interrupts or intrudes on other people.

In a child with cerebral palsy signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can go unnoticed or undiagnosed for some time.  Your doctors must do a complete and thorough investigation into your child, especially when they have cerebral palsy.  Only by careful monitoring can attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder be diagnosed in children with cerebral palsy.

Once a diagnosis is made, there are several treatment and therapy options.  Because the problem of ADHD is compounded by cerebral palsy, it is often very time consuming.  If the cerebral palsy is due to a medical mistake, costs associated with your child’s ADD may be covered.  Contact an experienced ADD and cerebral palsy lawyer through this Web site for a free consultation to learn about your legal rights.


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