Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is a rare, genetic neuromuscular disease that affects the motor nerves of the spinal cord. People with SMA become physically weak over time, affecting their ability to walk, talk, breathe, and swallow efficiently. Like aphasia, SMA does not affect the person’s ability to think and learn. There are four stages of SMA. A person can be diagnosed as a child or an adult. The four stages of SMA are based on when a person is diagnosed and the highest level of physical maturity reached when diagnosed. There is no cure for SMA. Like with other chronic conditions, getting the necessary medical, social, and caregiver support for the best quality of life is a priority. This can mean:
- Speech, Physical, and Occupational therapies to help adapt tasks like communication, swallowing, mobility, dressing, or bathing.
- Joining a support group or meetup for families living with SMA.
- Talking with your neurologist about the latest treatments available.