Spina Bifida means “split spine”. It is a condition that affects the spine and the spinal cord of a child even while still in the womb, leaving the child with varying degrees of paralysis. Children with spina bifida may also experience other problems while growing up such as limited mobility, loss of bowel and bladder control, gastrointestinal disorders and learning disabilities, making it a challenge to continue with regular day-to-day functionality.
The most common indication in an infant is a dimple in their lower back but special tests are necessary to be sure. Other signs are red marks, hyper-pigmented patches, tufts of hair or small lumps on the back.
Although the type and level of severity differ among people with spina bifida and may require different treatments, it is possible for them to learn how to get around on their own without help, by using crutches, braces or wheelchairs. Family members, caregivers and medical personnel should be aware of a child’s capabilities but within the limits of safety and health. With guidance and support, it is possible for people with spina bifida to be independent, integrate into society and live full lives.