Every expectant parent hopes that his or her child will be born without any complications and that the child will develop normally and be able to be a happy and healthy child and adult. Unfortunately, there are times when this doesn’t happen. At times, there is a genetic disorder that makes a birth defect inevitable, such as the extra chromosome present in children with Down syndrome. This can be detected before birth, but it can’t be reversed.
What Causes Birth Injuries Such as Cerebral Palsy
Other times, the science of medicine can make a difference. A difficult pregnancy can turn into a difficult labor and delivery that can be hard on the baby and the mother. Sometimes, everything has been fine up to the point of labor and delivery, but mistakes made by medical staff result in various birth injuries. In many cases, children with cerebral palsy are born. Sometimes, it is not immediately obvious that the injury has occurred, but it becomes apparent by the time the child is 2 to 3 years old. Cerebral palsy is a nonprogressive brain disorder that affects the child’s motor skills. While the actual brain damage won’t get worse, families coping with birth injuries, such as CP, experience many challenges as a child grows. Some tasks get easier with time or therapy, and some become a greater challenge. Along with cerebral palsy, other types of birth injuries are often present. Up to 50 percent of children with CP also experience seizures and some level of mental retardation. They also will frequently have vision, hearing and speech problems as well as trouble with language and communication.
Infection in the womb causes many cases of CP and includes up to 70 percent of children with cerebral palsy. Some infections may potentially have less of an effect, if they are caught and properly treated during pregnancy. Another 20 percent of kids with CP have it because they acquired a brain injury during the birthing process. A lack of oxygen to the brain is common.
Getting Through Summer When Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a different experience for different children and their families. Some experience more mobility or language challenges than others. While some have mental retardation and/or seizures, many do not. These children often become frustrated because their cognitive development is developing faster than their physical development. For example, a young child may know how to build a tower but won’t have enough physical control in his muscles to accomplish the task. In this case, it can be helpful to let the child direct you as you build the tower. Let him be the architect even if he isn’t ready for the construction crew.
There are many different types of adaptive devices available that can help bridge the gap between ability and disability, such as electronic communication devices or even ramps or stabilizing equipment. Many of these devices are expensive, which is one reason why retaining a birth injury lawyer is a good idea if your child developed CP during birth.
Getting Out and About
Like any children, children with cerebral palsy become bored if they are not kept busy and allowed to experience the world during their summer vacation. Several summer camps are available that may involve an overnight stay with qualified staff to help with special needs, and there are also day camps for those who want to stay closer to home.
Families can also do things together in the summer. They can head out to summer concerts, as music is a very good form of therapy. They can also go to neighborhood parks. Parents can look for ones that have inclusive play scapes. These structures feature a curved slide that will offer more support as a child slides down. While it is recognized by the Americans With Disabilities Act as being adaptive to disabilities, to most kids, it just seems like a slide.
Often, schools and city parks departments offer adaptive sports such as tennis or basketball that allow kids to compete in wheelchairs. Bowling alleys have adaptive equipment available, such as ball ramps and bumpers, so that families coping with birth injuries can enjoy this activity together, as well.
Making the Best of the Situation
A diagnosis of cerebral palsy or another type of birth injury does not make parents love their child any less. They still want their child to grow to be as independent as possible and enjoy a fulfilling life. Getting that to happen does require more work and more money than it does for a child who does not have a birth injury or disability.
Parents need to be diligent about range of motion exercises and help their child develop their physical strength beginning in infancy, if possible. Unused muscles are more likely to be stiff and may be more prone to spasm. Parents need to help their child stay positive and engaged in their life, often with the assistance of physical therapists and other medical professionals.
A birth injury carries consequences that last a lifetime, and it is an injury that could have been prevented. By working with a birth injury lawyer, you can assess the impact that an injury is likely to have on your child and your family. The Becker Law Firm in Cleveland, Ohio, has attorneys who are experienced in getting families that are coping with birth injuries the compensation they need to help their children be their best.