“Don’t ever expect your child to walk.”
This is an unfortunate worry that far too many parents believe when their child is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. CP can cause a wide range of challenges and physical impairments that often create uphill battles for children when attempting to accomplish everyday tasks such as speaking, eating, and walking. But because the severity of these impairments varies based on each child’s unique Cerebral Palsy diagnosis, there are many different methods, tools, and equipment used to help children with CP lead more independent and fulfilling lives. A Cerebral Palsy diagnosis does not mean your child will experience every major challenge that can come with the condition, however there may be areas of your child’s unique life path that can be made easier with assistance.
Adaptive equipment can help to provide greater autonomy and self-confidence to individuals living with Cerebral Palsy. The type of equipment used is based upon a child’s specific symptoms and needs. A medical professional will help you establish what adaptive equipment might be most beneficial for your child. This equipment can include but is not limited to:
- Wheelchairs – one of the most widely utilized devices due to the fact that they can come in different sizes and offer several operating modes such as push control, joysticks, voice recognition, etc., depending on the needs of the individual
- Strollers – assist with helping a child sit upright when his or her trunk muscles are underdeveloped
- Walkers – an important tool for mobility and muscle coordination in individuals who are able to walk but require assistance with balance
- Braces – helps to improve mobility, stability, and muscle tone. CP braces can also help stretch the muscles that can become overtight due to how Cerebral Palsy affects the child
- Orthotic Boots – this footwear helps correct underdeveloped muscles/abnormal foot alignments and helps protect feet and ankles from injuries caused by lack of muscle control
- Gait Trainers – assist children living with CP improve their walking ability and build muscle strength while keeping spastic limbs under control
It is important to recognize that while science has continued to make technological advancements and innovations in mobility over the last few centuries, the unfortunate reality is that various obstacles and limitations still exist within our society. Because of rough terrain, inadequate wheelchair accessibility, limited governmental assistance, challenges with insurance companies, etc., essential adaptive equipment can sometimes be nearly impossible to attain, or even use, in everyday life.
So, the question becomes: How can we make the world more accessible for everyone?
The good news is that ongoing technological developments indicate the world is moving in a positive direction for increasing accessibility and assistance.
On example began in 2011, when Manmeet Maggu started working on the building blocks to create Trexo, a robotic gait-training device used to teach a child’s leg muscles how to walk. Maggu has stove ever since to redefine mobility solutions for people of all ages and abilities by offering ways for them to increase autonomy and achieve independence and self-confidence.
A similar positive development comes from Aaron Ames, a professor at Caltech. He is currently working with a group of students to develop another robot mobility solution called exoskeletons. These robots are assistive devices that uses algorithms to closely mimic the body walking. Individuals can then be strapped into the exoskeletons and the robot is trained to respond to the user’s distinctive motion.
Even with the efforts to create a world of equal opportunity for all people, adaptive equipment is still a highly utilized resource for children living with Cerebral Palsy. Unfortunately, adaptive equipment can often be expensive and can be essential for his or her lifetime. Lifetime Benefits can be a life-changing opportunity to financially support the family of a child with CP and provide access to these devices in the present as well as in the future.
To request a Medical Legal Review and/or for more information on adaptive equipment, fill out our form or contact our office today at (800) 462-5772 if you would like to find out more about your child’s Cerebral Palsy and eligibility for Lifetime Benefits. While exploring your eligibility for Lifetime Benefits, we also will be able to connect you with critical resources on a local, state, and federal level that may be able to help. We hope to hear from you soon!