Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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Are you the parent of a child with a disability? Did you know that medical malpractice could be the cause?

Was your child's birth injury caused by nature or medical malpractice? We can investigate.

Our law firm concentrates on the litigation of birth injuries nationwide. With an OBGYN, labor/delivery nurse and other experienced medical and legal professionals representing your rights, the MEDLAW Legal Team offers families and children the resources and experience necessary to successfully litigate healthcare negligence claims.

Our medical malpractice attorneys focus on the representation of families whose children have developed a disability as a result of negligent medical care.


Cerebral Palsy in Children: A Guide for Care

The Child With Cerebral Palsy

The most often asked questions by parents whose child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) involves concern and anxiety about their child’s future. The parent’s of children with CP face many challenges, including emotional and physical demands. Like any parent, those of children with CP will find that optimism blended with realism is the best approach to raising any child. With support, assistance, extra time and accommodations, most children with cerebral palsy can enjoy a full and active life.

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormalities in the fetus’ developing brain, or from injury sustained during the birthing process or soon after. Those with CP are unable to control or move their muscles in the normal way and experience effects that can range mild to moderate to severe. Mild CP may mean the child is clumsy, while moderate CP may cause the child to walk with a limp. Severe CP can impact all of the child’s abilities including learning, sensory problems, speech difficulties, bladder and bowel trouble and eating problems. The severity level of cerebral palsy is in correlation to the injury to the brain.

Learn More about the Types of Cerebral Palsy

When an infant or young child is diagnosed with a disability, their family's lives are forever changed. Meeting the challenges of a disability requires families to draw upon their inner strength and the support of other family members, grandparents, relatives, friends and co-workers. Equally important are the support and services that the family and child receive from educational and other social service agencies. There are mandated services for children with disabilities from their birth to age 21 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA was designed to enable children with disabilities to become productive members of society by equipping them with educational and social skills to help them reach their maximum potential. At specific milestones in a child’s life, state agencies work with other professionals and the child’s family to develop and implement an academic plan to help transition the child into the mainstream.

Your Child Is The Same – Just Different

The brain’s ability to adapt to new ways of working after an injury is amazing. Infants with cerebral palsy are often more slow to reach developmental milestones such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking and talking. However, many of these children learn how to make their bodies work for them in other ways. For instance, an infant unable to crawl due to CP may learn how to move around by rolling from place to place.

For babies with CP, exercise is more challenging because of their limited ability to move. However, exercise with the full range of motions is critical to preventing contractures or joint limitations. Weight bearing exercises help to decrease bone loss and sensory or motor input exercises contribute to the development of the child’s cognitive skills. An exercise program can be incorporated into a parent’s daily routine through activities such as diapering, dressing and feeding. A child’s occupational and physical therapists can provide a number of useful tips to engage your child in physical and cognitive exercise.

Parents should also incorporate outdoor activities into the exercise routine since it becomes increasingly important to stimulate the child’s sensory system. It also provides the parent with an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses”. For older children, exercise often comes in the form of play. The touch and movement associated with play are important to normal tactile (touch) and vestibular (response to movement) systems. When engaging in any activity, it is important for the parent to be cognizant of their child’s needs and limitations.

Some children with CP participate in formal physical fitness programs or gym classes. Physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology all help a child to develop stronger muscles, as well as refine motor and communications skills. In addition to therapy, special equipment and technology is available to support the unique needs of a child with CP. Splints can help a child move and use their hands, while braces support the child as the stand or walk.

With early and continued treatment, CP’s effects can be managed and reduced. Surgery, Botox injections and other medications can help to decrease the effects of cerebral palsy and new medical treatments are being researched and developed. There is also support available from physicians, therapists, psychologists, educators, healthcare and social workers who are committed to working with children with cerebral palsy.

Learn more about the Treatment of Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral palsy clearly presents hurdles to both the family and their child. Particularly stressful milestones include the diagnosis and conflicting emotions it brings, transitioning a child of school age into specialized education, and adjusting to the social and physical turbulence of the adolescent years. As parents age, they may face a new set of concerns regarding their child’s future. However, with support, care and love, the family facing cerebral palsy has many opportunities for happiness and success.

Cerebral Palsy Articles: Disability and Discrimination

Cerebral Palsy Articles: Living with Cerebral Palsy

Your Legal Concerns
While most doctors, nurses, midwives, and hospital technicians provide a high standard of care for their patients, unfortunately, many families are harmed by medical mistakes. A physician may have misread fetal monitoring equipment, failed to diagnose fetal distress during labor, waited too long to perform a C Section, administered too much Pitocin, or failed to act in a timely manner. Parents of a child suffering with cerebral palsy should contact an experienced cerebral palsy lawyer to research the cause of their child’s condition.

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