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There Is Help If Your Child Has Cerebral Palsy

October 22, 2014

Each year, thousands of babies are diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  While the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis may be overwhelming, there are numerous resources throughout the state of Michigan that can help you and your family get the help that you need.

Cerebral Palsy Resources

There are resources and programs that provide information and opportunities to advance independence and productivity.  They provide excellent information about condition, medical treatment,  and support networks.  Helpful organizations include:

  • March of Dimes (www.marchofdimes.com)
  • My Child (www.cerebralpalsy.org)
  • United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) (www.ucp.org)

Besides national organizations, United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan (UCP) is an excellent in-state organization. UCP provides guidance on local resources and services, and promotes networking with other Michigan families.

Healthcare Resources

For more information on health topics, including, diagnosis, therapy, medical dictionary, clinical research, disease management, and statistics, the UCP suggests a reliable website, Medline Plus, from the National Institute of Health: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/cerebralpalsy.html

The UCP also provides guidance by Michigan cities about physicians and local offices.  http://ucpmichigan.org/resources/physicians-and-offices

Access to Health Care

UCP educates families about rights and access to health care.  It provides information about medical services available for individuals with disabilities, and encourages involvement in public policy for improving health care access.  Specialized health insurance also may be available through state agencies, such as the Michigan Child Health Insurance Program, Medicaid offices, and Department of Disability and Human Health.  Helpful resources include:

  • Insure Kids Now
  • Michigan Department of Community Health
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Children with Special Needs Funds

Public Assistance Programs and Support Groups

Public assistance programs offer assistance in nutrition, funding, and support groups.  The UCP advocates networking and family outreach.  Popular CP online support groups include:

  • CP Family Network
  • Daily Strength Cerebral Palsy Support Group
  • Cerebral Palsy United Together Facebook Group

Housing and Employment Assistance

To promote independence for people with CP, several programs offer safe, accessible, and affordable housing.  Other programs offer employment opportunities.  Helpful resources on housing and employment include:

Housing/Independent Living

  • Center for Financial Help
  • Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living
  • Blue Water Center for Independent Living (BWCIL)
  • BWCIL Huron County Branch
  • BWCIL Lapeer County Branch
  • BWCIL Sanilac County Branch
  • BWCIL Tuscola County Branch
  • Capital Area Center for Independent Living
  • Disability Advocates of Kent County
  • Disability Connection- West Michigan
  • Disability Connections
  • Disability Network Michigan
  • Disability Network Oakland and Macomb
  • Disability Network of Mid-Michigan
  • Disability Network Southwest Michigan
  • Disability Network/Lakeshore
  • Disability Network/Northern Michigan
  • Disability Network/Wayne County- Detroit
  • Michigan Family Support Initiative
  • Monroe Center for Independent Living
  • Superior Alliance for Independent Living
  • The Disability Network
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Michigan Council on Independent Living

Employment

  • Michigan Rehabilitation Services
  • Michigan Works
  • Michigan Department of Education
  • Michigan Employment Loan Fund
  • Peckham
  • We Connect Now – For College Students
  • Michigan Department of Labor

Research Programs

The UCP promotes the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF).  The CPIRF is a “not for profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to funding research and educational activities directly relevant to discovering the cause, cure, and evidence based care for those with cerebral palsy and related developmental disabilities.”  CPIRF offers access to research fact sheets, web casts of scientific workshops, current and past research projects, and discussion forums regarding treatments for CP.  The CPIRF is an excellent resource to learn more about CP and what is being done to improve the quality of life for those with CP, with the end goal of finding a cure.

Recreation

The UCP promotes community inclusion through recreational activities and adaptive sports.  They provide resources by activity and location in Michigan.  Activities include biking, dancing, fitness, horseback riding, canoeing/kayaking, music activities, swimming, tennis, etc.  For more resources available on recreational activities available for children and adults with CP in Michigan, contact these organizations:

Education

Educational opportunities for children with CP can be complicated.  Resources help families determine the best learning environment for their child.  Much depends on how CP has affected cognitive abilities and the resources available in the local community.  Most are eligible for public school education programs.  Those with cognitive disabilities may take special education classes or attend a private school for children with disabilities.  Available resources and options include:

  • Early On
  • Family-to-Family Health Information & Education Center
  • Michigan Office of Special Education & Early Intervention Services
  • We Connect Now – for college students

Legal

Besides the support and resources we’ve discussed, it is important to immediately seek legal help if medical negligence caused your child’s cerebral palsy.  Often cerebral palsy occurs because of a birth injury caused by a doctor, hospital, or nurse error.  If you suspect medical negligence played a role in your child’s CP, please contact the Buchanan & Buchanan team of experienced Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys and healthcare professionals.  We offer a free, no obligation consultation and are delighted to answer your questions.