Cerebral Palsy (CP) is an incurable brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. CP is caused by damage or abnormal development to the area of a child's brain that controls motor skills, resulting in mild to severe forms of paralysis. The disorder most commonly occurs during pregnancy or childbirth, due to various factors including premature births, blood compatibility between mother and child, drug use, poor prenatal care or medical negligence during delivery. However, it can also develop in a child's early years of life as a result of physical trauma or from brain infections. Those afflicted with CP may also experience a host of other associated conditions, ranging from breathing problems and learning disabilities to epilepsy and mental retardation.
For people who have CP and those caring for them, life can be a frustrating and often difficult journey. Fortunately today, there are many resources available to help people live productive and independent lives. Whether you're new to the topic, looking for further information on the subject, caring for someone who has CP or wanting to connect with others facing the same dilemmas, there are resources out there that will provide the assistance you may need and the comfort in knowing that you are not alone.
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP)
Created in 1949 by a group of parents determined to make a difference in the lives of their children and others afflicted with the disorder, the UCP has grown to be one of the largest non-governmental organizations. The group works with 100 affiliates nationwide to assist the disabled community. Their website provides a host of information on CP and other related disabilities, ranging from local and international support service contacts to education, housing and governmental policies they actively pursue.
Cerebral Palsy International Research Foundation (CPIRF)
Started by the same founding families of the UCP, the CPIRF provides funding for research and education in the areas of finding causes, cures and care for persons with CP and other disabilities relating to CP. With the use of modern technology, their goal is to develop methods for prevention of CP, as well as find improved treatments and therapies. Following their website will keep readers up-to-date on the latest research breakthroughs in fighting the disorder and ways the public can help in the fight.
Cerebral Palsy Family Network (CPFN)
It takes a village, and the CPFN is one of the largest network villages providing sources of legal and medical information concerning CP issues. Their website offers a wealth of information including blogs, articles, downloadable care plans, plus free medical and legal resources. Additionally, there is a searchable state-by-state database containing almost everything available on the subject.
Cerebral Palsy Resources (CPR)
CPR was created by the law firm of Deal, Cooper & Holton to share some of the excellent resources they gathered over the years from the affected families they worked with. The site provides a searchable nationwide database for resources on intervention, technology, training programs, rehabilitation and parenting networks.
Cerebral Palsy Network(CPN)
With the goal of promoting unity, power and empowerment, the CPN is a network offering support and resources worldwide in the hopes of making a difference. Their website contains a disability library, a bookstore, links to worldwide resources, inspirational stories and articles on CP awareness.
Origins Of Cerebral Palsy
This website offers an abundant amount of resources, including information on CP, legal material, publications, blogs, chat rooms and forums. Additionally, the site provides some great CP related links to fun activities ranging from reading and art, to sports, camps and travel.
Cerebral Palsy Forum
Sponsored by the Neurological and Physical Rehabilitation Center, this online discussion board covers topics and questions on legal matters, treatments, testimonials and personal discussions about coping with CP.
Daily Strength Cerebral Palsy Support Group
The Daily Strength provides an abundance of insightful information in the form of discussion boards, including reviews on top treatments, expert answers to health questions, discussions on personal goals and various blogs. What many find most useful is that the boards provide a great place for individuals needing to talk about their private struggles and achievements.
The Healing Center On-Line
This informative site is written and operated by Dr. Lewis Mehl-Madrona, an associate professor of family medicine and psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine. Not only will you find plenty of CP related information, including topics on innovative or alternative therapies and discussion forums, but the website is a virtual clearinghouse of resources relating to the topic.
Cerebral Palsy Meet-up Group
One of the most difficult dilemmas facing people and families with CP is being able to connect in person with others who can relate to what they're going through. With the meet-up website, they can find groups of people to get together with who share their same interests. There are numerous CP groups already formed in various cities, and you can also use the site to form your own group. Joining a meet-up group gives parents, as well as children and adults with CP, a chance to make new friends by getting together for outings and events.
While there may not be a cure for CP yet, research, technology, education and assimilation of information can improve the quality of life for those dealing with the disorder, as well as reduce the occurrence of those being born with it.
Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas. Her work can be found here.