The Ataxic Cerebral Palsy Nightmare

Although the occurrence of ataxic cerebral palsy is quite rare (such type is only accounted for about 5 to 10 percent of the entire cases), keep in mind that it is still cerebral palsy, and it can cause bothering problems not only on your affected child but also to you as well. The following are some of the facts which you need to be aware of:

o The cerebellum is the part of the human brain that is damaged, causing the ataxic type of disorder. It is responsible for the coordination and balance of body movements.

o Once damaged, it could result on the following:

o Hypotonia disorder or poor muscle tone;

o Having hard time maintaining balance;

o Depth perception disorders;

o Various tremors; and

o Disability in controlling the motion and range of voluntary movements.

o Children affected may show the following signs:

o Demonstrating unsteady gait;

o Intention tremors while attempting to perform any voluntary movements;

o Clumsiness and difficulty in performing such voluntary movements;

o Writing task is severely affected;

o Depth perception disorder results to coarser movements like reaching for any object;

o Involuntary and rapid eyeball movements; and

o Other related conditions such as visual and hearing disabilities, seizures, and possibly mental retardation.

In most cases, a doctor diagnoses a child for any possible presence through a combination of meticulous physical examination and findings from medical imaging methods like MRI and CT scans. Such findings along with the result of the physical examination are used to evaluate and identify if the brain is developing normally or not. Moreover, if not diagnosed at an early age, it may worse as the affected child ages.

Sad to say, the cure has to be formulated. However, it can be treated by the help of therapies and medical substances. One of the popular treatments used to combat is by undergoing a process called chronic cerebella. It starts by placing any stimulation medium such as electrode at the surface of the damaged cerebellum. This is believed to restore the muscle tone and balance.

It is important that you are aware of the signs of ataxic cerebral palsy for it will be your cue if your child is suffering from it, thus you can brought him/her to your physician for further evaluation. Your child’s life as well as his/her future is at stake here, so it is imperative that you are not negligent. Be alert and be aware of ataxic cerebral palsy.

Infant Development – Teach Your Baby How To Crawl

Crawling is the term used to describe moving around the floor on hands and knees with the stomach up off of the ground. This type of mature movement is different from creeping, which is defined as baby dragging her body around with her stomach in direct contact with the ground.

Crawling typically appears after a baby has learned to creep on the floor. Don’t be surprised though if your baby skips creeping and pushes herself up onto her hands and knees and begins to attempt to crawl first. Most babies will acquire the ability to crawl around the nine to ten month mark. However, some babies begin to crawl as early as six or seven months. Others may take as long as twelve to thirteen months before crawling. If you are worried that your baby is not crawling, a conversation with your baby’s pediatrician would be in order. As an alternative, you may contact your local Early Intervention program and request a physical therapy evaluation to determine if some type of intervention is necessary. In the meantime try these simple techniques for immediate results.

Rocking front to back on hands and knees

  • Place your baby on her stomach.
  • Kneel behind your baby and gently but firmly grasp her around her trunk, with one of your hands on either side of her body.
  • Gently use your fingers to raise her hips up off the ground and bring her knees under her trunk so that she is on her hands and knees.
  • Use one of your hands for support under her trunk, if necessary.
  • Gently rock her front to back while maintaining the hands and knees position.
  • Once she is stable on her hands and knees, kneel on the floor in front of her and show her how much fun rocking on hands and knees is.

Reaching while on hands and knees

  • Position your baby on her hands and knees as described above and support her under her trunk with one hand.
  • Place a toy in front of the baby and tell her to reach for the toy with one hand.
  • Increase the support under her trunk as needed to help her maintain her balance on both knees and one hand while she plays with the toy using the other hand.
  • Allow her to play with the toy in this position for about one minute.
  • Move the toy close to her other hand and encourage her to switch hands and play with the toy with her other hand while you provide support under her trunk as needed.

Crawling forward with assistance at hips

  • Position your baby on hands and knees as described above, but this time place her favorite toy in front of her, just out of reach.
  • Kneel on the ground behind her and gently move her right knee forward about 2″, then move her left hand forward 2″.
  • Move her left knee forward 2″, then move her right hand forward 2″.
  • Keep alternating her hands and knees for her until she reaches the toy.
  • Move the toy out of reach and encourage her to move forward on hands and knees to get the toy once again.
  • Provide assistance to her knees as needed to help her move forward.
  • Practice crawling on the floor daily until your baby is able to crawl on her own.

In the next module of this training series I will discuss some simple tips and tricks to help improve your baby’s sitting balance.

The Facts On Down Syndrome

John Langdon Down was a British doctor who was the first to fully describe a syndrome that would eventually bear his name. This was back in 1866 but even before that scientists and doctors had described some aspects of Down Syndrome as early as 1838. This affliction is not new, it has been around since time began and today it is the most common of the genetic abnormalities.

Down Syndrome is also called Trisomy 21 because it is a mutation on the 21st set of human chromosomes, usually an added portion on one strand or a whole strand unto itself. This is thought to happen when the 21st chromosome fails to separate from either the egg or the sperm cell so that cell now carries an extra copy on to the next phase of development. It is estimated that eighty eight percent of cases are caused by the egg failing to separate properly, while only eight percent happen on the sperm side of the equation. The other three percent happens sometime after the egg and sperm have merged.

Since chromosomes come in pairs, an added one anywhere is going to be detrimental in some way to the affected person. Down Syndrome happens in one out of every one thousand births and it is totally by chance that it occurs; there is no cure but it can be detected both during pregnancy and after birth quite easily.

Babies born with this syndrome have characteristic facial features, physical growth delays and intellectual disabilities. They usually have a small chin, slanted eyes, a big tongue, extra space between the first and second toe, flexible ligaments, a short neck and a flat, wide face. Their growth in terms of height is slower than that of an unaffected baby, and they may stutter or have rapid or irregular speech patterns. There is also an increased risk of hearing and vision disorders and lower fertility rates, however the chance of getting a cancerous tumor is lower as there are more tumor suppressor genes when a person has three chromosome 21.

While many women opt to have a termination when they hear that their baby is afflicted, others have their children who then grow up to be loving members of society. Some can hold down jobs and they are able to do most things that able bodied people can do. This syndrome does have its effects, but also shows us that differences should be embraced.

Aging Out of EPSDT – Part VI: HCBS’ Collapse

One of the most-favored ways for states to deal with youths with disabilities that are aging out of the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment program (EPSDT) is to move them into the Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program. The HCBS provides those newly-adult folks with disabilities the opportunity to obtain Medicaid waivers that can be used to pay for health care services either at home or in a privately-run community dedicated to their particular kind of disability. It has two major problems: it can’t handle the existing caseload, and it’s in the middle of getting reformed because it’s already too expensive.

Waiting for Health Care

Those much-vaunted HCBS waivers only pay for a certain number of people; everyone else goes on a waiting list. That doesn’t sound dire at first, until you realize that waiting lists only move when someone currently receiving HCBS coverage passes away — and most of these spots are being filled with young adults who have decades of life in front of them!

There are currently more than half of a million Americans on such waiting lists, trying to figure out how to make ends meet until their coverage kicks in. In some states, you can get a child with special needs put on the waiting list for adult HCBS services the day they turn 14… and then still watch them wait for 5 or more years past their 19th birthday until they actually receive the coverage they need, paying for their health care out-of-pocket the whole time.

HCBS’ Frantic Reforms

The HCBS system started gaining popularity in 1995 as a less-expensive alternative to institutional care (i.e. nursing homes). In that year, HCBS spending was $5 million for the entire country. Since then, however, the cost has risen significantly every year, to $44 million in 2014. Medicaid’s administrators are panicking, because they can’t afford the rate of increase. Because they don’t want to appear to be attacking the disabled community directly, their strategy of choice has been to attack the privately-run communities that have cropped up around the country to serve the special-needs population.

They’ve done so by massively broadening the definition of “institutional,” so suddenly thousands of nonprofit communities that served the disabled populace and were paid via the HCBS waiver system are no longer eligible for those waivers. It’s not a matter of any given young adult with special needs being unable to qualify for HCBS — it’s a matter of the government systematically declaring the ‘communities’ of the ‘community-based services’ to be no longer officially ‘communities,’ but rather ‘institutions.’ So now, when you age out of EPSDT, even if you qualify for Medicaid, you might be told that the only people allowed to take care of you are your family members.

According to the Center for Medicare Services, the Medicare/Medicaid system will begin to consume 100% of Federal revenue by 2050 if nothing changes, so these restrictions are absolutely necessary. But there’s another option that makes far more fiscal sense, if only people would open their eyes to it — we’ll discuss that in the next post.