Monday, 25 October 2010

Families of Children with Cerebral Palsy Sufferer Extreme Stress

Every day Arizona medical malpractice attorneys witness the devastating damages caused by birth injury resulting in cerebral palsy. Often the impact on the family is left out of the equation. According to a study out of Canada, families of children with cerebral palsy, especially those who have severe limitations, suffer from extreme stress and require coping strategies and resources.

There hasn't been in-depth research into the impact of cerebral palsy on the family of a child over a period of time. Most studies have focused on familial stress when there is a child with cerebral palsy in the preschooler or infant stage. As a result, there is very little information available about school-aged children suffering from cerebral palsy and their families. Researchers at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, studied the parents of children who suffered from cerebral palsy. The children in the study were aged between six and 12 years in the study, which was funded by the Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation.

The researchers found that approximately 45% of the parents described themselves as being "highly stressed," while 11% described themselves as being "defensive." Between 49% and 59% of the parents admitted that their children's cerebral palsy had impacted their time, emotional frame of mind and family activities. Fortunately however, the parents reported that the child’s health had not adversely affected the cohesion of the family as a unit. Stress levels seemed to be greater in families of children who had severe gross motor difficulties and activity limitations. Parents of children with cerebral palsy, who had higher cognitive abilities and pro-social behaviors, were less likely to suffer severe stress.

The study gives a brief glimpse of the kind of impact cerebral palsy can have on an entire family, and not just on the child.

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