FVDD
Advocating for Dignity and Choice for Persons
with Developmental Disabilities

Cerebral Palsy

“Just because someone can't talk doesn't mean they have nothing to say.”

Cerebral Palsy is most often caused by a birth injury when the brain does not receive adequate oxygen for an amount of time either before, during, or shortly after the birthing process. The damage caused to the brain results in the loss or impairment of control over voluntary muscles. Many times, it is the result of medical negligence. Since cerebral palsy is not a disease or a genetic disorder, there is no “cure,” but there are ways to manage the effects of the disability through early intervention with physical and cognitive therapy.

Signs of cerebral palsy usually show before age three. Parents usually notice their child is developing slower than other children the same age. Other signs include slow motor skills, unusual posture, and abnormal muscle tone. Medical tests such as MRIs, motor skill tests, and a careful review of the child’s medical history can help diagnose the disability.

There are four main types of cerebral palsy - spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed. People with cerebral palsy can have other disabilities as well. Examples of these conditions include seizure disorders, vision impairment, hearing loss, and mental retardation.

There is hope; there are those who listen and understand; and there are choices for those affected by disabilities. FVDD can help by offering the research, resources and support so that families and individuals can make informed choices. We advocate for dignity and choice for persons with developmental disabilities. You are not alone. Contact Us for information or guidance.

Marianne’s Story:

“What a little slugger we have here!” proud mommy Marianne would often say. Her 6-month-old son, Tommy, showed signs of a strong left hook and would use his left hand often to grab for things such as toys and food.

A few months later, she noticed he seemed to favor his left side for other activities and mentioned this to the pediatrician. She also commented casually about his “being stubborn” and “in his own little world” sometimes when she would say his name or favorite phrases.

The doctor also noticed Tommy was not responding normally to acoustic cues, and he noticed the left-sided dominance. He suggested a few tests, including a hearing test.

Tommy was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Marianne was confused, terrified, and bitter and wanted to understand how this could have happened. She discovered her doctor had been negligent during labor, and she began the long road of therapy and legal action. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.


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