Cerebral palsy is one of the most common harms suffered by children with which our Illinois birth injury lawyers work. We understand the seriousness of many forms of the injury. While cerebral palsy exists along a spectrum, those with more severe forms essentially require around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives.
However, the consequences of a cerebral palsy diagnosis do not mean that a child will never be able to thrive. On the contrary, stories abound of children who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy who went on to impact the lives of all those around them for the better in countless ways. The Advertiser recently profiled one little girl, for example, who has continued to beat the odds and develop in ways that her medical providers at first thought impossible. The story is a reminder both of the way that children with cerebral palsy can thrive as well as the importance of proper therapy and access to resources for those with these special needs.
The family of the girl in this story had no idea anything was wrong until their daughter was about four months old. The girl had been born prematurely, but there was not any immediate impairment. However, a few months after her birth, the girl’s mother noticed something odd. The child would only look to her left side, always stepped with her left foot and had a right hand that was sometimes clinched. At a neurological follow up, she was labeled “left-side dominant.”
By the time she was nine months old, something was clearly wrong. A medical check- up revealed that there was a big problem. The doctor explained that the girl essentially had a large hole in her brain. The left side of her brain had a one-third chunk missing. Doctors suspected that the girl had suffered a stroke and that the portion of her brain simply “melted away.” This was essentially a form of cerebral palsy.
After the diagnosis doctors explained that the consequences for the child were likely to be severe. She would have expressive and receptive language comprehension issues. Experts thought that she might be able to understand only her mother’s tone and body language. Her peripheral vision was also likely to be affected.
The girl’s family did not take the prognosis lying down, however. They committed to do everything they could to help their daughter develop to her full potential. They took advantage of a publically funded intervention program called “Early Stages” that seeks to help developmentally disabled children grow in their earliest, formative years. In addition, the family had the girl in private therapy sessions.
Today the girl is thriving. She knows 54 words, walks, talks, and has not had any vision issues. The only major issue is that she still has little fine motor skills in her right hand. However, with more therapy, the prognosis is good that she will be able to regain some of the lost movements.
The Chicago cerebral palsy lawyers at our firm applaud the efforts of this family to provide the best for their daughter. We know that there are many similar families in our area who are doing everything they can to help their children with disabilities. It is a sad reality, thought, that a lot of families are never able to do everything because of financial concerns. That is why in situations where the impairments were caused by negligence, it is important for redress to be provided to the child.
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