Ataxia occurs as a result of damage to a part of the brain called the cerebellum which controls muscle movement. Other causes of ataxia include alcohol abuse, stroke, tumor, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Ataxia can be passed on through your genes without your parents ever showing symptoms of having the disease. Common symptoms of ataxia include slurred speech, difficulty walking, losing your balance and having trouble swallowing. As ataxia develops, it may become harder to walk, button up shirts, grasp small objects, swallow food/saliva or control your eye movements. Treatment for ataxia includes physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or speech therapy depending on what type of ataxia you have been diagnosed with.