Monoplegia Cerebral Palsy - Medical Negligence Compensation Solicitors | MedNeg.com.au
Monoplegia is a rare type of cerebral palsy (CP) that affects just one limb of the body. This form of CP is commonly diagnosed as Hemiplegia, as it usually does affect both sides of the body; however, there is only a very mild disability to the corresponding limb on the opposite side of the body. Monoplegia is caused by an injury to the brain and should not be used to describe other conditions, such as brachial plexus palsy, which is a condition caused by nerve injuries.
Although just one limb is affected by monoplegia, it is essential to seek treatment as early as possible. Consult with physicians and therapists that specialize in treating individuals with cerebral palsy. These professionals will perform a detailed assessment of your child’s condition, perform several tests for physical abilities, as well as other potential medical conditions, and identify the areas your child needs assistance with the most. This team of specialists designs a treatment program that will provide the most benefit, while helping you to set realistic goals for your child.
While therapy can be extremely beneficial, it is important to understand that a child with monoplegia may never have full use of his or her hands and fingers or completely function in a manner as a child without cerebral palsy. Monoplegia typically causes the end of the limb to be more affected than other areas, and arms are more commonly affected than legs.
Therapy and treatment for monoplegia is quite similar in nature to the plans set forth for patients with hemiplegia. These treatments also do not vary a great deal from forms of physical therapy designed for children without cerebral palsy. Common forms of therapy involve encouraging the child to use the affected arm or leg as much as possible, as normally as possible. One of the most popular exercises entails providing the child with a large toy, then requiring him or her to use both hands to play with the toy. Providing a wide range of toys that require various forms of physical manipulation to use helps the child to become better acquainted with “two-handed exploration”. Encouraging the child to use two hands will reinforce the importance of using both limbs, while keeping him or her from favouring just one side. The more comfortable the child becomes using both hands, the better the chances of improvement. This can stimulate and, to a certain degree, recover some of the function of the limb.
Even though monoplegia is considered a relatively mild form of CP, it is very important to realize a child with this condition will most likely always have limitations, and only reasonable expectations should be set. Setting goals that may not be reachable will only cause further setbacks, increasing the potential for emotional harm. Therapy should be utilized in all cases, as this will provide the best chance for the child to reach his or her full potential. That said, full potential might mean that he or she will never be able to use fully the limb and might never have full use of the fingers.
Perhaps the most important service you can provide for your child with monoplegia is plenty of love, compassion and support. You should never set yourself, or your child, up for failure. It is critical to provide as much assistance as is needed, while encouraging the child to live independently. Always treat the child as you would any other child, and provide plenty of support for him or her to lead as normal a life as is possible.
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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here