Learning that your child has cerebral palsy can be a heart breaking discovery and leave you feeling helpless and unable to provide the comfort and care that your child may require for a chance at leading a normal life. While there is no cure for cerebral palsy, there are many forms of treatment that may help your child overcome and cope with his or her disabilities and, in time, help him or her lead a semi-normal life. Treatment is most effective when cerebral palsy is detected in early stages as it allows physicians to create a plan not only to address symptoms but also to prevent the worsening of conditions associated with the diagnosis and to prevent additional complications.
Forming the Right Treatment Plan for your Child
Every child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy will exhibit unique symptoms and require a treatment plan specifically designed to address his or her disabilities. Treatment will undoubtedly require the work of multiple specialists— each of whom can help your child in his or her own area of expertise. Teams are led by a doctor who is tasked with the formation of the team, communication between its members and making sure that every team member is on the same page and communicating concerns and providing updates with the team leader. The composition of the team will vary depending on the needs of your child but is likely to include the following specialists.
- Physical therapist— the purpose of physical therapy as treatment for cerebral palsy is twofold. Diminished motor function increases muscle atrophy and spasticity, which eventually results in the affected muscles becoming too weak to perform their intended purposes. Physical therapy can aid children in reversing some of the damage that has already occurred and to prevent additional atrophy by exercising and strengthening those muscles.
- Speech therapist— many children with cerebral palsy suffer from varied degrees of speech impediments and speech pathologists are able to assist children in forming words and coping with their disabilities.
- Social worker— a cerebral palsy diagnosis doesn’t only affect a child but it also takes a marked toll on the family as well. A social worker’s function is to make sure that the child and his or her family all have access to the resources they need to be able to cope with the stress that accompanies living with cerebral palsy or caring for a loved one with this condition. Examples of needs that a social worker may address are helping families enroll in educational programs or obtaining assistance through community programs.
- Psychologist— the purpose of a psychologist is not only to address the emotional needs of your child but also to provide counseling services to the members of your family who may require assistance coping with the stress and emotional pain they are experiencing. In addition, the psychologist may assess and diagnose destructive behaviors or patterns and provide a treatment plan to address those concerns.
- Orthopedist— it is not uncommon for those living with cerebral palsy to undergo surgeries in order to repair or strengthen the skeletal and muscular systems when they become degraded as the condition progresses. An orthopedist works in tandem with the physical therapist and diagnoses and monitors the progression of muscular and skeletal programs. In the case surgical intervention is deemed necessary; the orthopedist is responsible for overseeing the procedure.
- Educational therapist— these specialists are trained in the management of learning disabilities that may accompany cerebral palsy such as mental retardation, autism or ADHD. This specialist will spend time both forming and implementing a plan tailored to your child’s needs in order to help your child overcome his or her disadvantages in order to catch up to the educational level of his or her peers.
- Occupational therapist— because cerebral palsy patients must overcome physical, mental and psychological disadvantages, an occupational therapist may be included in your child’s treatment plan to help him or her learn how to develop skills which can be used in school, as part of a career or in day to day tasks. The goal of occupational therapy is to allow your child to learn how to eventually obtain independence and a greater quality of life.
- Pediatrician— the pediatrician would act as the leader of your child’s treatment and make revisions as needed to his or her treatment plan as new concerns arise. Pediatric neurologists or psychiatrists are often selected for this role as they have training that allow them to address needs specific to your child.
The Cost of Treatment for CP
The treatment of cerebral palsy requires the skill and attention of a team of specialists throughout the child’s entire lifetime. Medical bills can accumulate quickly when your child’s treatment plan requires such attentive and ongoing care. According to cerebralpalsy.org, the lifetime cost of caring for a child with cerebral palsy is around $1 million, but this estimate does not include economic factors such as emergency room visits, wages lost due to the need for a family member to stay at home or psychological suffering.
The Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have represented families just like your own and helped our clients recover compensation to cover these burdensome expenses. We understand that the last thing you need is to fight tooth and nail with insurance companies over coverage or to lack the assistance needed to give your child the care he or she deserves— especially if his or her injuries were the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless actions. Our cerebral palsy attorneys can help you assess and explore your legal options and let you know more about your rights as a parent in a free consultation.
Contact us today and we will happily schedule your free consultation at the time and location of your convenience. As the last thing you need to worry about is an additional financial burden, you can rest assured that we will never require any form of payment for our services until we have successfully recovered damages on your behalf. If we fail to do so, our time and resources are free of charge.