Cerebral Palsy: Essential Facts and Guidance for Understanding

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a medical condition affecting an individual’s movement, muscle tone, and coordination. It results from an injury to the developing brain either before, during, or shortly after birth, significantly impacting daily activities. CP can be classified into four main types:

  • Spastic Cerebral Palsy: Characterised by muscle stiffness
  • Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy: Involves involuntary movements
  • Ataxic Cerebral Palsy: Affects balance and coordination
  • Mixed Cerebral Palsy: A combination of the above types

This condition affects both children and adults, presenting various challenges and requiring different interventions for optimal management.

Signs and Symptoms

Cerebral palsy often manifests when infants fail to meet milestones such as sitting up, crawling, or walking. Indications can include inconsistent muscle tone, motor development delay, and speech issues. The condition might not be diagnosed until the child reaches 2 or 3 years old.

Key symptoms of cerebral palsy:

  • Movement: Difficulty walking, poor balance, and coordination.
  • Muscle tone: Stiff muscles, spasticity, hypotonia, or hypertonia.
  • Motor skills: Delays in reaching milestones and weakened arms or legs.
  • Reflexes: Exaggerated reflexes and ataxia.
  • Sensory: Sight or hearing impairment, such as blindness or deafness.
  • Communication: Difficulty with speech and swallowing.
  • Other: Pain, incontinence, seizures, intellectual disability, and posture issues.

Though there is currently no cure for cerebral palsy, various therapies can help manage symptoms.

The Investigation

Investigating the incident can determine if competent medical care could have potentially prevented or significantly reduced the severity of brain injury in cerebral palsy cases. While cerebral palsy can occur in non-negligent situations, several cases involve negligence during pregnancy management or delivery.

Negligent cases often involve:

  • Inadequate response to abnormal CGT Trace indicating foetal distress
  • Misuse of oxytocin or Syntocinon by medical personnel
  • Prolonged presence of the baby in the birth canal, causing lack of oxygen
  • Delay or failure to schedule and perform Caesarean Section
  • Ignoring or misinterpreting decelerations in infant’s heart rate on a CTG Trace
  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum delivery during infant’s birth

Parents can make a claim on behalf of their child, with the date of injury being the date of birth. The two-year limitation for making a claim starts when the child turns 18 years old. A successful settlement can cover:

  • Specialist care and therapy
  • Speech and language therapy
  • Necessary equipment
  • Occupational therapy
  • Intensive physiotherapy
  • Long-term treatment, rehabilitation, and care
  • Assistive technology and future care requirements

Ideally, a meticulous investigation should provide clarity on the incident and determine if any medical negligence contributed to the child’s cerebral palsy.

How We Can Assist

Our team at HOMS Assist offers support and services to ensure the well-being of those affected by birth injuries and cerebral palsy. We strive to obtain appropriate compensation for injured children and their families.

Upon receiving instructions, we will obtain a copy of the medical records to investigate potential negligence. We engage medical experts, often from outside of Ireland, to evaluate the records, determine if there was a breach of duty, and identify any substandard care provided. This process involves analysing medical records and gathering expert opinions on the case.

We provide our services on a nationwide basis, with dedicated offices located in:

  • Ely Place, Dublin
  • Henry Street, Limerick
  • South Mall, Cork

In addition to our expertise in birth injuries and cerebral palsy cases, our firm also offers a range of resources and services in other areas, such as:

  • Wills, Probate, and Trusts: Our experienced team provides personalised service and quick case resolution for private wealth cases, including Wills and Powers of Attorney.
  • Property Law Solicitors: We offer prompt case resolutions and personalised services for property law matters in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
  • Family Law Solicitors: With over 50 years of combined experience, our team excels in family law cases encompassing child custody, guardianship, divorce, and domestic violence.

Through our assistance and comprehensive approach, we commit to supporting the needs of clients facing various legal challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What signs and symptoms indicate cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can manifest through a variety of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Muscle stiffness or spasticity
  • Difficulty in coordinating movements
  • Delays in reaching developmental milestones
  • Speech and communication difficulties
  • Poor muscle tone

Please note that these symptoms may vary in severity and can appear in various combinations.

How can the effects of cerebral palsy be managed and treated?

Treatment for cerebral palsy may involve a combination of:

  • Physical therapy to improve mobility and muscle strength
  • Occupational therapy for developing daily living skills
  • Speech therapy to enhance communication abilities
  • Medication to reduce muscle stiffness or control seizures
  • Supportive devices like wheelchairs or braces
  • Surgery in some cases to manage complications

Each individual’s treatment plan will be tailored to their specific needs and requirements.

What causes cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can result from various factors, including brain damage or malformations during pregnancy, labour, or shortly after birth. These factors can be related to:

  • Infections during pregnancy
  • Oxygen deprivation at birth
  • Premature birth
  • Brain injury before, during, or after delivery

What is the life expectancy for individuals with cerebral palsy?

The life expectancy of someone with cerebral palsy largely depends on the severity of their condition and any associated health issues. Individuals with mild cerebral palsy can have a similar lifespan to the general population, while those with severe disability may have shorter lifespans due to associated health complications.

Can you describe the different classifications and types of cerebral palsy?

Cerebral palsy can be categorized based on the pattern of movement difficulties or the specific region of the brain affected. The main types are:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy: characterized by muscle stiffness and difficulty in movement
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy: involves involuntary movements and poor muscle control
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: characterized by poor balance, coordination, and unsteady movements

Is it possible for someone with cerebral palsy to lead a typical life?

The ability for someone with cerebral palsy to lead a typical life depends on the severity of their condition. Many people with cerebral palsy can lead nearly normal lives, whereas others might require constant care and support. Factors such as early intervention, access to appropriate services, and a supportive environment can significantly contribute to the quality of life for individuals with cerebral palsy.

Get in touch

Nationwide services with dedicated offices in


2-4 Ely Place, Dublin 2, D02 FR58


Bishopsgate, Henry Street, Limerick, V94 K5R6


1A South Mall, Cork, T12 PV44

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Wills, Probate and Trusts

HOMS Assist provide swift case resolution and a personalised service. Contact us for all private wealth cases such as Wills and Powers of Attorney.


Property Law Solicitors

HOMS Assist provide swift case resolution and personalised service in Dublin and Limerick. Contact us today to discuss property law matters.


Family Law Solicitors

We have 50+ years experience in family law cases including child custody, guardianship, divorce and domestic violence. Contact us for swift case progression.


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We are an award winning, client-oriented law firm in Dublin, Limerick and Cork. Our solicitors provide comprehensive legal advice in an approachable and caring manner. Most of us will require a solicitor at some time in our lives. When the time comes that you do require legal support you will want to be sure that you are dealing with professionals who will work quickly and efficiently to help you. So whether you need help writing a Will, you have been in an accident, suffered an injury or illness that was not your fault, or you are looking at divorce options, we can offer clear guidance and representation to assist you in obtaining the optimum result.

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