Cerebral palsy takes a substantial emotional toll not just on the children who suffer from this condition, but also their families. A new study conducted by Canadian researchers illustrates this often devastating toll.
The study, the first into the impact of the condition on families of school age children, was conducted by researchers from the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montréal. They were specifically looking at the effect of cerebral palsy on the families of school-age children suffering from the condition. The researchers surveyed parents of 95 children aged between six and 12 years, and suffering from cerebral palsy. As they evaluated the questionnaires, the researchers found that 45% of the parents described themselves as being “highly stressed,” while 11% describe themselves as being “defensive.” Approximately 50% of the patients said that their children’s cerebral palsy had adversely affected their time, emotional condition, and family activities. However, the families confirmed that the children’s illness had not disturbed the cohesion of the family as a unit.
Not surprisingly, to Indiana medical malpractice attorneys, the levels of stress seemed to increase with the severity of the child’s limitations. For instance, parents whose children had enhanced cognitive abilities and better social behaviors, were less likely to be stressed, compared to parents whose children suffered from gross motor difficulties. Family cohesion was often impacted in cases where the cerebral palsy was associated with hyperactivity.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that is typically linked to lack of oxygen supply to the brain. This can often occur during birth as a consequence of birth injuries. The condition is characterized by a permanent loss of muscle coordination and stiffness of muscles. There is no complete cure for cerebral palsy, but treatment can increase the capabilities of the child.