8 Myths About Children with Cerebral Palsy
There are many completely unfounded and uninformed ideas about the reality of living with disabilities like cerebral palsy (CP). As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you probably have a lot of questions about the potential for your beloved child’s quality of life. Many such myths can become a great source of additional worry and stress for families and individuals with CP. Below are 8 such troubling thoughts that can b
e eased with evident truths about living with cerebral palsy:
1. My Child Will Never Be Accepted by Society
Fact: One of the biggest fears a new parent has is how their child will be accepted by others. Despite our best efforts to be true to ourselves and unaffected by the opinions of others, we often fall short. Other people’s ideal of us affect our self-image, causing good or bad feelings about who we are. And sometimes people can be cruel. However, successful people with cerebral palsy have been around since ancient times, with the oldest evidence found in the mummy of the Egyptian Pharaoh Siptah.
CP is one of the most common causes of chronic childhood disability. The United Cerebral Palsy Association estimates that more than 764,000 Americans have CP. If one of the most celebrated civilizations in history could accept a ruler with cerebral palsy, your child will also be loved and accepted by many outside the immediate family circle.
2. The Stress from Raising a Child with CP Is Unmanageable
Fact: While having a child with CP has its special challenges, even normally adaptive children can cause moms and dads significant stress.
What’s more, there are literally thousands of parent support groups both on and offline to help you – in addition to doctors, family therapists, and social workers. So many mothers and fathers in our world understand what you’re going through and can offer viable solutions for your particular parenting experience. The Cerebral Palsy Network is an outstanding resource for families and individuals with cerebral palsy.
3. My Child’s Future Is Limited
Fact: While some children with cerebral palsy have intellectual impairments or learning disorders, many (over 58%) do not. Unfortunately, they are often underestimated because of the language and speech challenges that accompany CP. Children with cerebral palsy grow up to be athletes, writers, authors, comedians, actors, and business savvy entrepreneurs.
Although your child’s ultimate calling and ability to achieve their goals will be modified by their individual diagnosis, children with CP have just as many opportunities for greatness as children without CP. You can discover plenty of CP role models here.
4. Children with CP Will Never Be Able to Hold a Job
Fact: This myth goes hand-in-hand with the idea that those with CP have a limited future. It’s simply not true. While employment opportunities for the disabled have historically been minimal, government agencies, non-profits and educational organizations have been working diligently at changing this.
The Americans with Disabilities Act forbids employers to discriminate against or refuse to hire applicants and employees with disabilities. Some of the agencies that can assist with job placement are:
- The Disability Employment Initiative (DEI)
- The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services Administration
- National Center on Workforce and Disability
- Youth Transition Demonstration
5. My Child Will Have a Short Life-Span
Fact: Life-expectancy is somewhat of an oxymoron; nothing about life should be expected – not even how long it will last. This holds true for all of us, whether we have CP or not. There are some patients with cerebral palsy with short life spans, but the majority of individuals with CP live just as long as any average American – 78 years.
6. My Child Will Never Be Able to Play Sports
Fact: Even with mobility limitations, children with CP are able to play plenty of sports. Wheelchair soccer, mountain climbing, swimming, gymnastics, and track and field are just some of the playing fields in which you will find champions with cerebral palsy. The Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with disabilities and a great place to find teams and training centers in your town.
7. My Child Will Never Have a Fulfilling Relationship or Get Married
Fact: When you befriend or have a child with CP, you immediately discover they often have the biggest hearts. Love is arguably the most powerful human emotion, able to overcome any challenge including disability. Lifelong friendships, romantic flings and devoted partnerships are all not only possible for people with cerebral palsy, they are common. Research conducted by the American Community Survey between 2008-2012 found that 71.8% of people with disabilities were currently in their first marriage.
8. My Child Will Never Live Independently
Fact: No two cases of cerebral palsy are alike, so a person’s CP type and severity level will determine much of their ability to accomplish even simple tasks like eating and dressing. Here is where early intervention, dedicated medical professionals and continuing advances in technology do their part in making our lives easier and more enjoyable, especially for those who are differently abled. While it’s likely individuals with Gross Motor Function Classification System Level V will need full-time care, many people with CP grow up to live independently. Organizations like In-Home Support Services make it possible for those with disabilities to get the extra help they need around the house to live comfortably and independently.
Available Assistance for Families
Cerebral Palsy may be genetically inherited, but more often than not this condition is a result of a birth injury. Such a birth injury may be the result of improper medical responses to fetal distress. If the birth injury results from the negligence of the medical staff, then the doctor/hospital should be held responsible.
The attorneys at Oshman & Mirisola, LLC have over 40 years’ experience in cerebral palsy cases. We can help determine if the birth injury could have been prevented with proper medical attention and what your next legal steps may be.
If your child has Cerebral Palsy and you wish to bring legal action to be compensated for your child’s physical and emotional challenges, please contact us today at (800) 400-8182, or contact us online.