Cerebral Palsy Michigan
Michigan Children with Cerebral Palsy Find Support
Cerebral Palsy is caused by abnormal brain development or injury. Cerebral Palsy can impact learning, movement, seeing, speech, hearing and thinking. It is not uncommon for children suffering from cerebral palsy to experience seizures, difficulty swallowing, skeletal deformities and bowel or bladder control problems. The symptoms may be mild or severe and may affect either one or both sides of the body. It may affect either the arms or legs or all a child’s limbs. Often symptoms are noticed by the time a child is two years old and sometimes they are noticed as early as three months of age.  About 25, 000 children suffer with cerebral palsy in Michigan, according to the UnitedCerebral Palsy, Michigan. 
Due to the very broad spectrum of symptoms that may occur with cerebral palsy and the complex nature of abnormal brain development or injury, there are several different forms of categorization for the disorder. The lack of standard categorization can leave Michigan parents and caregivers confused. Classification can be based on the severity of the symptoms, parts of the body affected, if there is increased or decreased muscle tone, coordination of movements. There are efforts to move to a universal classification system, but until then there are several different terms to be aware of.  Some of the common broad descriptions used to categorize cerebral palsy are: mild, moderate, severe, no CP, spastic, non-spastic, hypertonic, hypotonic, paresis, pelagic, ataxic, dyskinetic and mixed. Michigan parents are advised to keep any records and notes describing all terms used to categorize their child’s disorder.
The United Cerebral Palsy of Michigan has been helping residents with disabilities for over 60 years and many Michigan residents depend on the organization for help with transportation, jobs, homes and health care services. The UPC also helps the other million residents in Michigan who suffer from other types of disabilities. This nonprofit organization is run on donations from others and works to allow those with cerebral palsy among other conditions to have a life without limits. Early On is a UPC program that works with local school districts to provide services, such as nursing, physical therapy, play groups, transportation, and parental education to special needs children ages 3-26 and their families.
Some Michigan residents living with cerebral palsy also have learning disabilities and cognitive impairment, while others do not. For the children that do not need help with academics, they can still benefit from the assistive technology and physical therapy offered by the schools special education programs. In Michigan, those with cerebral palsy can receive special education services up to the age of 26 or until they have earned their high school diploma. The state also has special pre-school programs for children age three to five.
Participation in a physical therapy program as a youth can make a big difference in a child’s dependency as an adult.Michigan residents can take advantage of the physical therapy option offered by the schools special education program. Cerebral palsy can be mild or severe and the type of physical therapy will depend on each child’s type and severity of the condition. These services are offered for free as an incentive by the state to help each child succeed, regardless of physical or mental conditions.
Orthoses are also utilized to help many children manage cerebral palsy.  Bracing can help to stretch stiff “hypertonic” muscles that are commonly associated with cerebral palsy. The most common orthotic used is the ankle foot orthoses or (AFO) which helps to prevent contractures and improve walking gait, but there are many other orthoses available to help prevent muscle contracture and the progression of deformities.  Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics offers free consultations to cerebral palsy patients and their families searching for orthoses solutions.  Their 20 Michigan locations including Traverse City, Petoskey, Cadillac, Grand Rapids and Alpena make them convenient to visit.  For the address and phone number of a location nearest you click here.