Early Childhood Intervention: Module Two – Special Needs & Conditions

Children with Other Nervous System Disorders

There are a number of other nervous system disorders1 that can affect a child’s development, including the following:

Erb’s Palsy

The brachial plexus (Fig. 1) is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Erb’s Palsy is caused by damage to those nerves. Although injuries can occur at any time, many brachial plexus injuries happen when a baby’s shoulders become impacted during birth and the brachial plexus nerves stretch or tear. Symptoms may include a limp or paralyzed arm, lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist, and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand.

Branchial Plexus

Figure 1. Branchial Plexus

Treatment

Some brachial plexus injuries may heal without treatment. Many children who are injured during birth improve or recover by 3 to 4 months of age. Treatment includes physical therapy and sometimes surgery.  Depending on how severe the damage is, recovery is expected for about 90% of children and adults.

1. References
http://www.umm.edu/imagepages/18125.htm

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