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Guide to Spina Bifida

“Spina bifida meningocele” by Uvainio/Wikimedia CommonsSpina bifida is a birth defect that affects the spinal cord. Children with spina bifida may experience lifelong physical disabilities, which require teachers to be mindful of their limitations. The same holds true for daycare providers, coaches, camp workers and other venues where the kids may play, exercise, learn or simply recreate.

Depending on the presentation of the condition, this list of birth defects of the spine may present as spina bifida occulta, - cystica, - lipomeningocele or - meningocele. Occasionally a secondary condition, such as hydrocephalus, worsens the condition or adds further challenges. Moreover, severity of the condition varies widely.

Although there is still a lot of discussion over the actual causes of spina bifida, it is possible to diagnose the condition in utero. This, of course, opens up the debate over the pros and cons of amniocentesis. Since this procedure carries a number of risks to the unborn child, parents oftentimes decline the invasive test for fear of losing a healthy child. Another point of contention is the choice of therapeutic abortion.

Parents who choose to continue a pregnancy -- in spite of a positive diagnosis -- likely look for information on the effects of spina bifida in their children’s lives, especially as the youngsters go through the various stages of childhood and later on to adulthood. Adaptive technologies and necessary changes in daily parenting create a unique learning need. Even so, the rapid advancement in spina bifida treatment offers a good outlook for an affected child’s quality of life.

Find additional information in this Bright Hub guide designed as a resource for anyone caring for or educating children and young adults with this condition.

Photo Credit: “Spina bifida meningocele” by Uvainio/Wikimedia Commons at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Meningomyelocele_diagram.jpg

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The amniocentesis is a valuable diagnostic tool that can be used for different purposes. However, although rare, risks are involved. Find information in this article on amniocentesis...

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There are several birth defects associated with exposure to Agent Orange, a mixture of herbicides sprayed in Vietnam during the war in 1962 to 1971....