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can a mother with mild cerebral palsy fully care for her child?

By Anonymous April 7, 2010 - 11:26pm
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i am trying to help my patient who has cerebral palsy get shared custody for her child. They are in the process of family mediaction and i was requested to write a letter in support of my patient.

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I am a 58 year woman with mild cp since being born 10 weeks premature. It is apparent mostly in how I walk, with my feet pointing in, and I have been told how I move is sometimes referred to as "the drunk man's walk" Except for all the years of being teased daily in school and always being the last one to be picked "for teams" in gym -- the cp never really got in my way. I did what I wanted to do, travelled, went to college, married and had 2 beautiful daughters in my early 30's. Raising them was never a problem. I did everything any other mother does. The ability of your friend being able to function enough to care for children depends on her age, and how mild her cp is. I mention age, only because I found to my surprise that if you have a mobility issue to begin with all of a sudden you have these secondary problems that come with the aging process. It has only fairly recently gotten the medical fields attention as they now see many more people with cp living to old age who normally didn't survive in the past. For me my balance has been a big problem. It has been slowly deteriorating since turning 40 and I started using a cane at 48. Next will come a scooter no doubt. I guess it is just a matter of if you have any other physical problems, things that generally don't hit a "normal" person until their 60's and 70's, hit us in our 40's and 50's or sooner depending on how severe your cp is. All the wear and tear on your joints and muscles from having always moved the wrong way start taking their toll after many years. I had great upper body strength that compensated for my weak legs and now my back is shot and arms are not as strong. I take a warm water exercise class which is terrific since gravity is a problem. (water exercise is great for anyone!) I suppose it doesn't matter who you are, the better you take care of yourself when you are young, the better shape you will be in when you are older. I would encourage your friend to make sure she exercises regularly -- whatever that may be for her -- to stay strong for herself and her kids. It isn't a cure, but it will help give her the energy to do what she has to do and keep her moving and on her feet longer, before the aging process starts trying to get in the way.

October 28, 2011 - 12:39pm
EmpowHER Guest

There is a whole spectrum when it comes to the difficulties pertaining to cerebral palsy. Some people cannot walk, while others only have a slight limp. It depends on how severe her cerebral palsy is.

April 28, 2010 - 4:10am

Hi Anonymous-

Without knowing anything about the situation, this is a difficult question to answer. Cerebral Palsy is one of those things that can be so mild no one can tell you have it, or completely disabling. Generally speaking, however, if a person has mild CP and no other issues, I don't see why the CP would preclude custody. By the time someone with this issue is an adult, they have usually learned to compensate for any physical difficulties they have such as one-sided weakness, etc.

If you feel comfortable supporting your friend in this endeavor, I see no real reason to let mild CP hold you back. Check our page on CP for general information. Maybe it will help you with your decision or even the letter: http://www.empowher.com/condition/cerebral-palsy

April 9, 2010 - 6:50am
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