There may be a cure for cerebral palsy someday, but currently, there is no known cure. That doesn’t mean there aren’t steps you can take to improve the quality of life for you and your child. If your baby has been diagnosed with CP, you’re already aware of the fact that this condition affects every member of your family.
The following options may be available to you, depending on the circumstances of your child’s condition. Keep reading to learn more about the ways you may be able to take some of the burdens off of your shoulders to create a brighter future.
Talk to a Lawyer
This Maryland Cerebral Palsy Lawyer web page describes some of the expenses families with a child who has CP may be facing. If your baby has CP, you’ve probably already missed work and been shocked by the medical bills. As your child grows, you may also need to make costly modifications to your home and vehicle.
If you believe your baby’s CP was caused by a doctor or nurse’s mistake that could have been prevented, a lawsuit may be your best course of action. Any damages you recovered could help pay for your child to have access to therapists, special education, and more.
Look Into Financial Assistance
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer some fantastic links to resources for cerebral palsy. Several of these links go to nonprofit organizations that help families get help with funding, access to equipment, and home modifications.
If your child’s CP has caused a severe level of impairment, they may also be eligible to receive payments through Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They may also be eligible for presumptive disability payments that you can begin receiving right away while your application is processed.
Find Respite Care
The ARCH Respite Care Network is another incredible resource for families who have been affected by cerebral palsy. Their Consumer Guide for Family Caregivers will connect you with many options for respite care, including state-level programs, privately funded organizations, and registries that can match you with caregivers.
Caregiving is an exhausting job, and you need a break every once in a while so you can relax and recharge. Respite care is invaluable to parents of children with disabilities. It can allow you to get away for a yoga class, a date night, or even a weekend trip.
How Babies Are Evaluated for Cerebral Palsy
If you’re worried that your baby may have cerebral palsy, it’s important to have your child evaluated right away. One of the first things a pediatrician or child neurologist may do to evaluate your baby’s condition is to check its reflexes.
Reflexes change during different stages of development, and so does the way they are checked. However, for an infant with suspected CP, doctors will check to see if your baby:
- Closes their eyes in response to bright lights
- Curls their fingers around a finger or object
- Extends their toes upward when their foot is stroked
- Displays the Moro reflex, also known as the startle reflex
- Makes crawling motions when placed on their stomach
Doctors may also use computerized tomography (CT scan) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to create an image of your baby’s brain they can use to see if there are any damaged or abnormal areas. Babies are often sedated during these painless, non-invasive procedures so they’ll stay still enough to get a clear image.
When older children have a CT scan or an MRI, doctors or technicians may turn the procedure into a fun game for them to get them to stay still. For example, they may present it as a “staying still contest.”
Early evaluation is essential in cases of cerebral palsy. The sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner they can begin therapies that can increase their ability to learn, to communicate, and to become independent. Individuals with CP can overcome many challenges and go on to live fulfilling lives.