Information for Parents of Children with Cerebral Palsy

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LEGAL ASSISTANCE
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.

877-692-3862

 
Disability Issues: Discrimination, Employment
Living with Cerebral Palsy

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Discrimination and attitudes
 

Disabled people continue to face discrimination and difficulties imposed by society in every area of their lives. The common experiences of disabled people are of rejection and enormous difficulty in taking part in even the most ordinary activities such as shopping, going to the cinema or to the pub.

Discrimination is present in education and employment, often leading to lifelong dependence on welfare benefits.

Many polling stations are inaccessible; therefore disabled people are denied the right to vote on equal terms with non-disabled people. In addition, disabled people are forced into dependence, suffer humiliation and struggle with an inaccessible environment every day.

As a consequence, many disabled people give up the struggle of attempting to take part in society and stay at home.

The exclusion of disabled people from society means that some non-disabled people have never met a disabled person and therefore do not have the opportunity to develop opinions and attitudes about them based on personal experience.

Lack of awareness and fear of the unknown is compounded by the predominantly negative media images of disabled people and of disability generally. For example, in a survey conducted by The Leonard Cheshire Foundation (4), nearly one-third of people questioned thought that wheelchair-users were “less intelligent”; and 44% of opinion leaders thought that using a wheelchair would present a major obstacle to gaining employment. Such misconceptions lead to a vicious circle of rejection, discrimination and exclusion.
 

Language

What we say both reflects and shapes the way we think. The language we use about disability is an important way of influencing our own and society’s attitudes.

Words and phrases to avoid include: handicapped person, spastic, wheelchair-bound, sufferer, the disabled.

Use the following instead: disabled person has cerebral palsy, wheelchair-user, has an impairment.
 

Social versus medical model of disability

Behaviour towards disabled people is governed by the picture or ‘model’ of disability that others carry in their minds. These models, in turn, affect the way in which society is organised.

The two main models are:

·     The medical model sees disability as an illness and disabled people as patients in need of a cure so that they can fit into ‘normal’ society. The emphasis is on the condition rather than the person.

·     The social model recognises disabled people as equals who are battling against very unequal odds i.e. society’s attitudes. The emphasis is on society’s responsibilities and changing attitudes rather than the disabled person’s problem.
 

Education/inclusion

Discrimination against disabled people begins from the moment they are born. Disabled children are often segregated, mainly because of medical considerations, which undermines the possibility of enjoying life alongside non-disabled peers. However, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 makes it unlawful for all education providers to discriminate against disabled pupils. Full details of these measures are available on the Disability Rights Commission website: http://www.drc.org.uk    

Early school experiences (positive or negative) can have a profound impact on how disabled people feel about themselves and influence expectations about their future role in society.

Meanwhile, the controversy over special schools continues. Some people argue that whilst special segregated education exists, most non-disabled children will never come into contact with disabled children. Their attitudes therefore are formed from those of adults and the media, which often perpetuates negative attitudes and stereotyping. Disabled and non-disabled children learning and growing up together takes away the fear of the unknown and makes disability part of the norm.
 

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