Given how complicated of a condition Cerebral Palsy is, it’s understandable why there would be a wide variety of questions surrounding it. In the interest of providing answers to questions about Cerebral Palsy, we’ve put together the following list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about Cerebral Palsy in hopes of answering some of your questions.
With that said, we are also happy to provide answers to any questions you might have that are not covered here. Call us at (800) 462-5772 or fill out our online form today and we will get you resources that cut through the complexities around Cerebral Palsy, and provide you the answers you deserve.
Cerebral Palsy FAQs
Basic Information on Cerebral Palsy
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella diagnosis for a brain injury to a person that can occur during pregnancy, delivery or post-birth care which can impact a child in a wide variety of ways.
What is CP?
CP is a shortened version or reference for the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.
Why is Cerebral Palsy so prevalent?
Our founder walks through the occurrence and answers this question in the video below:
What is a brain injury?
Coming about in a variety of different ways, a brain injury involves damage that prevents impulses (including thoughts, muscle control, actions, etc.) from ‘routing’ the way they normally would. In this sense, a brain impulse would normally be able to proceed from Point A to Point B, but due to injury, it is instead forced to find new pathways or it may be unable to properly function. A brain injury can involve complete destruction of parts of the brain or involve minor damage that may present as a stutter, muscle spasms, decreased mental development and more.
How does a Cerebral Palsy brain injury occur?
There are a wide range of causes of Cerebral Palsy. For a helpful diagram, see our infographic on the topic here. Some instances of Cerebral Palsy are caused by genetics factors in the womb, or prematurity, but many cases are due to brain injury that results from the failure to timely perform a C-section due to asphyxia when the umbilical cord becomes compressed or, for instance, wrapped around the child’s neck.
Is Cerebral Palsy contagious?
Because Cerebral Palsy refers to a brain injury, it is not a contagious condition but, instead, a one-time incident that often leads to a lifetime of challenges and limitations.
Are people diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy ‘mentally challenged’?
Even though Cerebral Palsy involves a brain injury or problems with brain development, this does not necessarily mean that a person has challenges with understanding or learning. The brain injury resulting in a Cerebral Palsy diagnosis can create a wide range of challenges, but some may just be physical and involve a limp, stutter, etc. Others, though, can face more serious cognitive challenges. As such, each person’s Cerebral Palsy must be understood on a case-by-case basis.
Cerebral Palsy Treatment
How does Cerebral Palsy impact a child?
For a helpful diagram of different forms of Cerebral Palsy and how they impact the body, see our helpful infographic on the topic here.
Does Cerebral Palsy get worse over time?
While symptoms associated with Cerebral Palsy can worsen because a person’s body is unable to overcome them as it had in the past, the actual brain injury does not worsen. The ability of the brain to overcome damage suffered around birth is made easier through therapy known as Early Intervention.
What is Early Intervention?
Used to train the brain to carry out tasks in new ways due to a birth injury, Early Intervention is the broad term used to describe speech, physical, occupational, and recreational therapy, and more. These efforts help retrain the brain’s pathways in a way to allow for tasks to be accomplished and symptoms to be alleviated or lessened. As a child gets older, these therapies change in response to evolving symptoms and challenges.
If my first child has Cerebral Palsy, will my next child experience the same condition?
Though genetic factors can play a part in causing Cerebral Palsy in a child, this does not mean that every child in your family will face similar challenges. Finding out the cause of your child’s Cerebral Palsy can help in guiding medical decisions regarding future pregnancies.
Cerebral Palsy Assistance
Are there programs or organizations dedicated to helping children with Cerebral Palsy?
While there are an extensive number of programs available to help children with Cerebral Palsy, it can be nearly impossible to find them due to the complex and crowded nature of the Internet. We have teamed with CerebralPalsy.org to provide free resources to parents of children at any age, regardless of the cause of Cerebral Palsy; available from 9AM-8 PM EST, Monday through Thursday, 9AM-5PM, Friday and Saturday, our team is happy to help you find programs located in your state and city, as well as nationally, to improve your child’s circumstances. All of this help is provided free, and so we hope that you will call us at (800) 462-5772!
Why would finding out the cause of a child’s Cerebral Palsy matter?
As noted before, there are some instances of Cerebral Palsy that occur only because of a doctor’s improper actions. Whether failing to perform a timely C-section in the face of fetal distress and asphyxia, misusing an instrument during delivery, such as a forceps or a vacuum extraction device, prescribing a dangerous medication to a mother, failing to diagnose otherwise evident complications and more, there are a variety of ways in which errors can cause a child’s Cerebral Palsy. In the event a child’s Cerebral Palsy is determined to have been preventable, that child can qualify for Lifetime Benefits to pay for decades of expenses involving care and more.
What is preventable Cerebral Palsy?
Preventable Cerebral Palsy is a brain/birth injury that results due to a doctor or hospital failing to provide adequate or proper medical care. Whether delaying your delivery , failing to perform a timely C-section, prescribing the wrong medication, improperly using medical devices for your child’s delivery, such as a forceps or a vacuum extraction device, there are a variety of events that can occur which result in a catastrophic injury to your child. The effects can involve any variety of problems, one of which is Cerebral Palsy.
Does insurance cover Cerebral Palsy costs?
Depending upon your coverage, you may be one of the fortunate families that have a wide range of costs fall within your coverage plan. However, for far too many families, insurance is unable or unwilling to cover costs associated with adaptive equipment, therapy and more.
Doesn’t SSI cover costs associated with Cerebral Palsy?
Programs like SSI can and do cover expenses associated with CP. Unfortunately, we receive calls from families all over the country that see their monthly funding decreasing over time or being denied and/or cancelled altogether. Only a small fraction of families of children with Cerebral Palsy see their monthly cost fully covered by their SSI, making additional resources and programs a critical need.
What is a Medical Legal Review?
In short, a Medical Legal Review is a comprehensive assessment of your child’s medical records and your own recollection of the circumstances surrounding pregnancy, delivery and post-birth care to identify signs of medical negligence surrounding the care you and your child received. Many parents discover that the doctors and nurses charged with providing effective medical care did just that. Some parents even find out that medical professionals saved their child’s life. However, tragically, some discover that the proper medical standards were not followed and that their child’s Cerebral Palsy was completely preventable. For those families of children who now live with Cerebral Palsy that could have been prevented, Lifetime Benefits may be available to cover the wide range of costs associated with CP.
What are Lifetime Benefits?
After a legal ruling in your favor or a general settlement, Lifetime Benefits are funds set aside, usually in a trust, that are dedicated exclusively to manage the costs associated with your child’s Cerebral Palsy. Whether education, treatment, therapy, adaptive equipment, housing, home/vehicle modifications, assistive technology, etc., these funds are reserved to help your child overcome challenges related to his or her preventable condition. This can be a form of critical assistance to families due to the wide range of costs and decades of required care that can come about with Cerebral Palsy.
Do Lifetime Benefits prevent me from collecting SSI for my child?
No. You can read more about this issue in our blog post associated with the topic (click here to read more about Lifetime Benefits and SSI). In short, Lifetime Benefits should not eliminate your child’s eligibility for all government benefits.
Why would I sue my doctor?
Lifetime Benefits are not about abusing the law or being vindictive by "going after" the doctor for your child's condition. In fact, any financial award or settlement your child receives will likely not come out of the doctor’s pocket but, instead, from his or her insurance or that of a hospital. Trials are sometimes necessary, but they are the exception and not the rule. Given the fact Lifetime Benefits can pay for decades of required care and assistance, it is all the more powerful and important to pursue this claim than any other insurance claim you might make.
I don’t have much money due to the costs associated with my child’s care. Does a Cerebral Palsy lawyer require a retainer?
An attorney helping you with a birth injury claim should not ask for any money up-front and only collect if you are successful in court. As a result, no attorney will be willing to move forward with a case that can take years to complete without feeling confident that there was wrongdoing involved and that your child can benefit greatly from the decades of financial support Lifetime Benefits represent.