Improving Access To Care And Support For Families Affected By Cerebral Palsy

by Cynthia Gareth

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As the most common physical disability in Canada, cerebral palsy affects around 0.2% of the population.

Cerebral palsy can be produced by an injury to the developing brain caused by injury, disease, or genetic and developmental disorders.

Although cerebral palsy can be a challenging disability, research organizations, disability advocates and support groups are working to ensure patients and their families receive an accurate and reliable diagnosis in order to receive the most appropriate care from birth. And for adults with the condition, improving the availability of assistive devices and websites that allow easier online access, could give them much greater independence.

Advocating Practical Support And Assistance

In children, cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability, and is made up of a group of disorders affecting movement, posture and muscle tone. CPFN note the overwhelming impact that cerebral palsy can have on children and their families. Providing greater access to information and resources for therapies and treatments helps them to manage their child’s health more successfully. In addition to caring for their medical needs, target=”_blank”>easier access to technology could improve quality of life for children and adults with cerebral palsy.

Devices such as wearable medical technology or tablets to access the internet can allow even those with serious disabilities to experience greater independence, but unfortunately, the cost is prohibitive to many. Disability advocates would like to see more support programs offering financial assistance to help people access technology that, for some, can be life-changing.

Improving Care With Earlier Genetic Diagnosis

Although cerebral palsy is often attributed to asphyxia at birth, new research has revealed that, like the other neurodevelopmental disorders with which it co-occurs, it might be caused by genetic changes. By increasing the use of DNA sequencing, genetic causes can be found earlier. This can be informative for parents, and can also be used to to predict the risk of recurrence in any future children they may have.

Genetic testing also results in a prompt diagnosis which could lead to improved and more appropriate care at an earlier stage.

Cerebral palsy is a common condition, affecting thousands of people in Canada. With more precise diagnoses and greater resources, families and individuals affected by the condition can not only manage their medical care better, but also improve quality of life through greater independence.