Washington resident Terry, 19, joins his mother Vickie Hoefer on her morning runs. For three miles he keeps pace beside her in his motorized wheelchair, a true feat for Terry, who has cerebral palsy. When he first joined his mother he could go only six blocks due to the discomfort of his wheelchair and the difficulty of operating the joystick for long periods.
Just like any runner, however, Terry improved his endurance. He also had modifications done to his wheelchair so that he could go farther faster. Vickie and he now participate in 5K runs and are planning on a marathon in 2013.
Five Misconceptions About Cerebral Palsy Set Straight
Cerebral palsy is often misunderstood and people who have it are often underestimated. Here is the truth behind several misconceptions about cerebral palsy:
1. Cerebral palsy is a genetic disorder. False. Cerebral palsy is a birth injury caused by trauma or disease. The injury may occur in the womb, during birth or in infancy when a lack of oxygen is supplied to the brain.
2. Cerebral palsy is a learning disability. False. Cerebral palsy can sometimes impact learning or may be accompanied by a learning disability, but not necessarily. The condition results in a range of physical limitations affecting mobility and speech. Difficulty with speech can be mistaken for impaired cognition, but they are not the same thing.
3. Cerebral palsy is a degenerative disease. False. First of all, cerebral palsy is not a disease, but a condition resulting from an injury. People with cerebral palsy are not sick; they have physical limitations due to injury to the brain.
4. Kids with cerebral palsy need special schooling. Sometimes. When public schools are not equipped to accommodate the needs of a child with cerebral palsy, they may find greater success at a specialized facility. Many children with cerebral palsy excel in public schools, however, and go on to attend university and have successful careers.
5. People with cerebral palsy will never become independent. False. Cerebral palsy ranges in its severity, but even those with quite severe physical limitations maybe able to learn to care for themselves with limited or no assistance. Advances in mobility technology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and social acceptance all help to heighten independence.
Terry Shows Us All How Far He Can Go
There is no doubt that cerebral palsy is devastating and that it dramatically impacts the lives of those who live with it and their loved ones. Terry faces the challenges of physical disability daily, as well as the social struggles that accompany them. He reminds us, however, that people with cerebral palsy are capable of overcoming those challenges to live an amazing life. Terry and his mother have extended the impact of the morning runs from inspiration to helping out the Gig Harbor/Peninsula FISH Food Bank. Terry may have cerebral palsy, but what truly sets him apart are his dreams, his passion and his drive to make a difference.
Cerebral palsy is a life-long condition that may be the result of medical malpractice. When this condition is preventable and occurs due to medical error, the family may be eligible for compensation to help pay for the lifelong medical expenses that come along with the condition. Does your child have cerebral palsy as a result of prenatal or birth injury? If so, please contact us immediately. The attorneys of Perey Law Firm will provide a free consultation during which we will discuss your legal options.