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Chicago Birth Injury AttorneyAs a new parent, the news that your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) can be unexpected and concerning, especially if you are not familiar with the nature of the condition. You may have many questions about what caused the condition, how it will affect your child’s life, and what you can do to help. It is important to educate yourself about CP so that you understand your options for making sure your child gets the assistance he or she needs. Here, we address some of the common misconceptions about CP to help you develop a more accurate perspective.

Misconception: CP Affects Everyone the Same Way

It is important not to jump to conclusions about the effects of your child’s cerebral palsy based on other cases of the condition that you have seen or heard about. While all cases of CP are caused by brain damage before, during, or soon after childbirth, there are several different types of CP, and the extent to which the condition affects a person’s abilities can vary significantly. Your child’s diagnosis does not necessarily mean that he or she will be unable to walk, speak, or have normal intellectual development, but it is important to pay close attention to the details of the diagnosis so that you understand your child’s specific diagnosis and the likely effects.

Misconception: CP is a Genetic Condition

Cerebral palsy cannot be passed on genetically from a parent to a child, nor can it be transmitted from person to person in any other way. Rather, it is usually the result of complications surrounding the birthing process that prevent sufficient flow of oxygen to an infant’s brain, or a traumatic brain injury during childbirth. Determining what may have caused your child’s condition can help you consider your options for seeking financial assistance.

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Chicago Birth Injury LawyerIf your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) due to a birth defect or birth injury, they may face many challenges throughout their life, including impaired physical strength and coordination, limited communication abilities, mental health struggles, and difficulty completing tasks at school, at work, and in their day-to-day life. However, there are treatments available to help your child cope with these challenges, including various forms of therapy. As you search for ways to help and support your child, you should consider the benefits that therapy may offer.

Different Types of Therapy

Therapy gives your child the opportunity to work with specialists who can help them develop abilities and skills to address the different kinds of challenges they may face. Depending on the nature of your child’s condition, they may benefit from some or all of the following:

  • Physical therapy - In physical therapy, your child can perform exercises to increase their general muscle strength and coordination, which may help them sit and hold their head up, stand and walk with assistance, and hold and lift objects.

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Chicago Cerebral Palsy birth injury attorneys

All expecting parents hope for a child who is healthy, but the reality is that many children are affected by chronic health conditions from birth or soon after. If your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), whether due to a birth injury or complications during pregnancy or labor, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by your concerns for their health and your ability to provide for their needs. Caring for a child with CP is undoubtedly a demanding responsibility, but the following tips may help you manage it.

Educate Yourself About Your Child’s Condition

All cerebral palsy cases are related to brain damage early in the child’s life, but there are several different forms of CP that manifest themselves in different ways, potentially affecting a child’s balance, coordination, and muscle movements in different parts of the body. You can support your child by talking with their health care providers and doing your own research to better understand how the condition affects your child specifically. Increasing your understanding will help you better provide for your child’s needs and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysAs a parent, your child’s cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis can be cause for serious concern, both regarding their well-being and your ability to provide for the costs of their treatment and care. If the condition was caused by a birth injury related to medical negligence, you may be able to recover compensation from the parties at fault. However, given the immediacy of your child’s needs and the sheer magnitude of the expenses you are likely to face over time, it is understandable that you would look to other sources of financial assistance. One possible source of help for some parents is Social Security benefits.

Supplemental Security Income for Children With Cerebral Palsy

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) offers disability benefits through a couple of different programs. The program that most often helps families of children with CP is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For a child to be eligible for SSI, they must have a qualifying disability and limited financial resources.

Qualifying disabilities are typically determined based on the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, commonly known as the Blue Book. Cerebral palsy is noted as a qualifying neurological disability for children, but only under certain circumstances. In order for your child to qualify for benefits, their condition must affect at least two extremities to the extent that they have extreme difficulty standing up from a seated position, balancing while standing, or using their upper limbs. Reports from your child’s doctors and therapists can help you demonstrate your child’s eligibility.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysCerebral palsy can have a profound impact on a child’s growth and development. As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you are probably constantly looking into ways to improve your child’s quality of life. Although surgery is often considered a last resort, several surgical procedures have been shown to improve mobility, pain, and overall functioning in children with cerebral palsy. Limb-lengthening or leg-lengthening surgery is an orthopedic surgery that corrects leg abnormalities or length discrepancies. This procedure may help a child with cerebral palsy with walking and movement, but the procedure is also associated with several risks.

How Does Leg-Lengthening Work?

Many children with cerebral palsy have legs that are different lengths. This can make walking very difficult and painful. Leg-lengthening surgery involves cutting the leg bone and allowing the body to form new bone so that the leg is longer than it was before the surgery. This is typically accomplished by inserting a metal device inside of the leg that slowly increases the space between the leg bones that were surgically separated. The body will then naturally fill in the space with bone over time.

What Are the Benefits of Leg-Lengthening for Cerebral Palsy Sufferers?

Having legs of two different lengths often causes pain in the back, hips, legs, and feet. Leg discrepancies may also accelerate joint deterioration. Limb-lengthening surgeries have about a 95 percent success rate. The procedure may correct leg discrepancies and misalignment that make it harder for children with cerebral palsy to get around. It may also reduce pain and slow the weakening of the joints.

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