Cerebral Palsy: A Guide | Ohio Cerebral Palsy Attorneys
Serving Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and all other Ohio cities
At ABC Law Centers (Reiter & Walsh, P.C.), we understand that finding resources for children with cerebral palsy can be difficult. We aim to help parents find the information and support they need to make sure their child is cared for, no matter what. One of the hardest things to do is knowing where to start, so we’ve compiled a shortlist of key resources that parents of children with cerebral palsy may find useful.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a condition with varying levels of severity. At its core, a diagnosis of cerebral palsy means that a person has a brain injury or abnormality that impacts their muscles and movement. By itself, a cerebral palsy diagnosis does not mean that a person has a cognitive impairment, but intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) do often co-occur with cerebral palsy. While cerebral palsy is not always associated with medical malpractice, it can often be linked to inadequate care during the mother’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
What causes cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy can be caused by a variety of factors. However, in many cases, it is the result of brain damage from lack of oxygen that occurs around the time of birth (i.e. a birth injury). The following complications and medical errors may cause or increase the risk of cerebral palsy (but this is not a complete list!) (1):
- Abnormal fetal position/presentation
- Birth asphyxia/hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Birth trauma
- Brain bleeds (intracranial hemorrhages)
- C-section errors and delays/failure to timely deliver
- Forceps and vacuum extractor injuries
- Low birth weight
- Maternal infections
- Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS)
- Mismanaged fetal distress (or failure to provide proper fetal monitoring)
- Mismanaged high-risk pregnancy (or failure to diagnose a high-risk pregnancy)
- Periventricular leukomalacia (PVL)
- Placental abruption
- Premature birth
- Prolonged and arrested labor
- Twin or multiples pregnancy
- Umbilical cord problems
- Uterine tachysystole/hyperstimulation
- Uterine rupture
How can cerebral palsy be prevented?
Cerebral palsy is strongly associated with medical malpractice, meaning that often, cerebral palsy can be caused by a medical professional’s mistake. There are certain things that medical practitioners should be doing in given situations – these are distilled into guidelines collectively called ‘standards of care.’ Preventing medical mistakes involves following these standards. If a medical professional or organization deviates from the standards of care and causes an injury, that is called medical malpractice. The prevention of cerebral palsy stemming from medical errors involves a combination of good communication, proper training, and accountable medical systems.
How do I get legal help to pay for my child’s cerebral palsy care?
If your child’s development isn’t progressing typically and you’re concerned that medical malpractice may have been involved, please contact the Ohio cerebral palsy attorneys at ABC Law Centers. Our firm is solely dedicated to helping parents with birth injuries secure their children’s futures. Unlike other personal injury firms, we focus exclusively on birth injury, rather than also dealing with slip-and-fall injuries, car accidents, medical device malfunctions, and other injuries not related to birth. Because birth injuries are so complex and require the use of multiple specialists and experts, it’s extremely important that you call a firm dedicated solely to birth injuries. Ohio cerebral palsy attorney Jesse Reiter is admitted to practice in Ohio and in the Ohio Supreme Court.
We have a history of numerous multi-million dollar birth injury verdicts and settlements, and our attorneys have won many awards for their outstanding work. We can provide you with a free and confidential case evaluation and explain your legal options. If you decide you would like to pursue legal action for securing your child’s future, we can go through the possibilities and help bring you peace of mind, knowing your child will be cared for – no matter what. We do not charge any fees for the legal process unless we win.
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Non-legal cerebral palsy resources
Knowing where to start looking can be hard when it comes to cerebral palsy and/or disability resources. There is no one central database of disability resources, and resource availability can vary widely from state-to-state.
To help parents of kids with cerebral palsy begin their search for information, the cerebral palsy attorneys at ABC Law Centers have provided a short list of potential resources that the parents may find useful. While this list is by no means comprehensive, we hope it will shed light on some of the organizations in your area that may provide useful information and services.
It is also worth noting that certain national organizations (like the Arc, the United Way, and United Cerebral Palsy) have many local and state chapters. These groups provide a wide variety of different programs (ranging from educational to employment-related to financial). We encourage parents to check out these groups, as they often are one of the best ways of finding services in a particular geographic area.
Additionally, one of the most effective ways to find local resources is to contact your city, county or regional Department of Health or Department of Human Services. Often, these departments have detailed service lists and trained staff who can assist in finding help specific to your child’s needs.
How do I get financial or medical help for my child with cerebral palsy in Ohio?
Governmental organizations for people with disabilities in Ohio
Cerebral palsy and other birth injuries are disabilities. Each state has offices that can assist individuals with disabilities in securing different resources. These offices can help with questions about disability income (SSI/SSDI), disability employment, and medical care. Related programs include:
- Ohio 211: The 211 services connects you to a representative with connections to community services who can help point you towards resources you may need. For residents of Central Ohio, the HandsOn Central Ohio directory serves the same purpose.
- The American Association on Health and Disability has a listing of both public and private disability resources.
Medical/rehabilitative assistance programs for people with disabilities in Ohio
Most major research teaching hospitals will have medical and follow-up programs for individuals with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. Many also have developmental clinics that screen children for developmental delays and refer families to specialists for services. These include:
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital Developmental Disabilities Clinic and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center
- Cleveland Clinic Children’s Department of Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
- Ohio State University’s Nisonger Center: Interdisciplinary Developmental Clinic; for children with cerebral palsy and I/DD, there is also the Neurodevelopmental Dual Diagnosis Clinic
- Akron Children’s Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics
- Cincinnati Children’s Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
- UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital: Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics and Psychology
Nonprofit organizations for people with disabilities in Ohio
Ohio has numerous nonprofits that focus on providing disability services to Ohio residents, including:
- Disability Rights Ohio helps individuals with disabilities advocate for themselves and exercise their rights as citizens.
- Olmstead Rights provides a listing of Ohio disability advocacy and resource centers across the state.
- Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) helps adults with disabilities obtain the social supports they need to live in a community-based setting.
The state also has several developmental centers that can provide residential comprehensive care for individuals who require more supports, as well as programs that provide supports for individuals who live in community-based centers. These DCs are listed on the Department of Developmental Disabilities’ (DODD’s) website.
How can I get my child educational help or early intervention in Ohio?
There are many programs available to help children with disabilities achieve their potential. Programs are available for many ages, ranging from infancy to adulthood. Depending on your child’s age and needs, the services you search for may differ. Resources for specific disabilities can be found on the Ohio Department of Education’s site on special education. For example:
- For children 0-3, Early Intervention services result in the creation of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that can help your child transition to a school environment. These are often called either Zero to Three or Help Me Grow.
- For older children, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are made in conjunction with the student’s teachers, psychologists, and other school staff to help maximize the child’s abilities in an academic setting. Most IEP-related services are provided through a child’s local school district.
- For adult children or those who are about to transition into adulthood, there are programs that can help maximize independence or learn pre-employment skills. For those about to transition into adult life, these are often provided by their school districts. For those who require additional support, other programs that focus on community integration, life skills development and socialization are available through day programs, community-based programs, and residential communities. These include:
- Ohio State University TOPS (for those with concurrent I/DD diagnoses)
- The Milestones Organizations’ listing of Transition to Adulthood service providers
- Employment First Transition Framework
- UDS Akron
- Summit Developmental Disabilities Board
- Warren County Transition Network
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital: Employment and Day Programs
- Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)
Where can I find housing resources for individuals with cerebral palsy in Ohio?
Accessible housing resources can be found through a combination of public and private resources, including governmental organizations like Ohio’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. Other resources include:
- Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio
- Ohio Department of Aging: Housing and Home Repair
- Housing Assistance Grant Program
- Disability Rights Ohio: Fair Housing
- Ohio Affordable Housing Locator
- Home Accessibility Program for home accessibility modifications
- Center for Independent Living Options, Inc.
Other useful cerebral palsy and disability-related resources in Ohio:
- Special Needs Resource Project: Ohio Disability Resources
- Red Treehouse: Ohio’s online resource promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of children and young adults, prenatal-25.
- Our Ohio disability resource guide: This enables parents to easily search for programs and services that may benefit their children, based on geographic location and other variables.
- Cerebral Palsy Attorneys | Birth Injury Lawyers. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2019, from https://www.abclawcenters.com/practice-areas/types-of-birth-injuries/cerebral-palsy/#causes-cp