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Lawyer Blog: Baltimore, MD

Psychological Issues Arising from Cerebral Palsy

Maryland Child Injury Attorney

Cerebral palsy, or CP, arises from some type of brain injury or malformation that can occur either while in the womb, during birth, or after birth. CP actually describes a group of disorders that impair movement control, known as “palsies.” CP is a not-uncommon childhood chronic disability that develops by the age of two or three. The difficulties of dealing with a permanently disabled child can be almost unsurmountable for any parent. But problems with CP don’t stop with the physical aspects; CP can also affect mood and behavior.

Frustrations and Challenges

Kids are kids. They want to play, enjoy fun times with friends, and fit in with their peers. But the daily challenges and frustrations of living with CP can upset children and make day-to-day living hard for everyone in the family. Some of the reasons are internal to the CP child, and some involve the greater society in which they live:

  • Children with CP can have brain damage that affects the pathways and neural networks carrying emotional messages. These networks can be damaged or disrupted in ways that interfere with a healthy regulation of emotions.
  • Physical problems can mean a manifestation of emotional issues. Think about it—if you couldn’t run as fast and answer questions as quickly as others in your class, wouldn’t you feel frustrated, too?
  • Children with CP, like kids with any disability, can become targets for bullies. Imagine being bullied, and not being able to protect yourself physically. You might even have less control over your emotions than someone without CP because of associated brain damage.

Kids with CP can experience emotional disturbances and damage just from living in the world that the rest of us “abled” persons take for granted.

Teen Years Equal Extreme Years

Anyone who has ever parented a teenager knows that this period of life is fraught with emotional reactions and overreactions. For CP teens, it is no different. One study revealed that nearly 40 percent of parents require professional help because of the stress of dealing with the behavioral problems of their CP teen.

The teen years in general are filled with concerns about taking their place in the adult world, and about maturing bodies, relationships, and sexuality. Teens who have CP experience the same concerns as any teenager, but often at a heightened level. They may require more emotional assistance because of physical changes, needing to learn how to care for their maturing bodies. Sexual relationships, even when the teen has physical challenges, should be encouraged to be emotionally healthy. CP teens must learn how to make the right choices, the same as any other teen.

If you would like more information, we have contact information for several Maryland chapters of United Cerebral Palsy.

Every stage of life has its trials for someone with CP, and for their family. While not all CP cases are caused by medical negligence and malpractice, the ones that are create a lifetime of complications for all involved. CP can mean a raft of situations that require assistance, and assistance often costs money you may not have. Of course, no amount of money can compensate for a lifetime of disability. Nonetheless, compensation can help pay for ongoing medical care and support, special home care, transportation equipment, professional behavioral assistance, and other expenses that cause families severe financial hardship.

We’re Listening. How Can We Help You?

Should your family have reason to believe that negligence was a factor in your child’s suffering an injury which led to CP, Maryland cerebral palsy attorney Steven H. Heisler may be able to help. Steve has been practicing law in Maryland since 1988. In 1996, however, he decided to focus exclusively on personal injury law. Why? Because Steve has a heart for helping people, deciding many years ago that his education and experience could best be put to use advocating for the rights of folks who were harmed through the actions of others.

If you have questions and would like an experienced medical malpractice attorney to watch over your family’s interests while you focus on your loved ones, contact the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler for a free initial consultation by calling  (410) 625-4878today, or use our online form.