Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It means “split spine.” The Spina Bifida Association has dedicated their existence to educating, advocating, researching, and serving people who have Spina Bifida and the community at large since 1973. It is the only national health agency that is dedicated solely to issues and research surrounding Spina Bifida.
Spina Bifida occurs when a baby’s spinal column does not close all the way while developing in the mother’s womb. There are four types of Spina Bifida, and they include: Occult Spinal Dysraphism (OSD) (Red patches or lumps on the back, spine may not develop as child grows); Spina Bifida Occulta (“Hidden Spina Bifida,” found accidentally by x-rays); Meningocele (part of spinal cord comes through the spine and is then pushed out); Spina Bifida Cystica (parts of the spinal cord and nerves come out through an open part of the spine, spinal fluid surrounds the brain instead of draining).
If a child has spina bifida, some of the forms can be considered a physical disability. The Spina Bifida Association has great resources for parents and advocates on the rights of the child with Spina Bifida. Be on the lookout for awareness events near you when October 2016 comes, as that is Spina Bifida Awareness month. For more information, please visit: http://spinabifidaassociation.org/