Cerebral Palsy in Adults
There are currently half a million cases of cerebral palsy in adults and children in the United States. As the most common congenital defect, approximately 4,500 babies are born with cerebral palsy each year. Cerebral palsy is usually a result of pregnancy complications, but can also be caused during complications in childbirth or in the first few years of a child's life. This means that cerebral palsy in adults is a condition that they have had most of their lives.
Many people with cerebral palsy can live long and functional lives. In the general population, 98 percent of cerebral palsy children will survive into their twenties and beyond. In people with cerebral palsy, the likelihood of surviving into their twenties and beyond is ninety percent. The life expectancy and quality of life for people living with cerebral palsy is also predicated on the severity of their condition. For example, children with severe mental retardation or cerebral palsy symptoms that significantly impairs all four extremities (quadriplegic) have a seventy percent chance of reaching adulthood.
Managing Adult Cerebral Palsy
While there is no cure for cerebral palsy in adults or children, early intervention and a multitude of available treatments can make this condition manageable. Treatment of cerebral palsy in adults and children involves a team of professionals and parents. The treatment can include physical, language, and occupational therapy as well as surgery, braces, and medications. There is also support for the individual through their social, mental, and emotional development.
Treatment for cerebral palsy in adults may also include the following services that foster independent and functional living:
- continuing therapy
- vocational training
- furthering education
- personal assistance services
- employment opportunities
- recreation and leisure group participation
- independent living services
Cerebral palsy in adults is something that parents should think about while their child is still young or as they approach adulthood. Parents whose children affected by cerebral palsy, are unable to care for themselves by the time they legally reach adulthood should contact their local courts to file for guardianship. This will ensure that your child's care is still in your charge. Cerebral palsy in adults should also be a consideration for parents for other reasons. Parents may wish to speak to a lawyer about estate planning and guardianship for their children as they approach adulthood. It is also possible that care for a child or adult with cerebral palsy will have to be arranged in cases where the child outlives his or her parents.
Living with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy in adults and children does not preclude these individual's ability to lead a full and healthy life. There are many cases where medical negligence, school disputes or other issues may arise in regards to cerebral palsy in adults or children. If you think that your child's cerebral palsy is a result of medical negligence, the school system is violating your child's legal right to a public education, or you have questions and concerns about guardianship and estate planning issues, you may wish to consult a cerebral palsy lawyer who is trained to protect the legal rights and interests of people with cerebral palsy.
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