In July 2009, I took my 8 month old son to see a pediatric neurologist since his legs and arms were very tight and his pediatrician was concerned about his muscle tone. I was convinced that nothing was wrong and that I was wasting my time at a specialist. My world changed when the doctor said he believed Mark had all the early warning signs of Cerebral Palsy. In that moment I knew things weren't good but I didn't know what CP was and I felt like an idiot when I had to ask the doctor to explain it to me.
This is why it's so important that today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Most parents don't really know what CP is, they've heard of it but they don't know the details.
Yet it is the most common motor disability in children. 1 in 303 children have Cerebral Palsy.
What is CP?
Like most children the doctors suspected that Mark had CP, but he wasn't officially diagnosed until the age of two. Mark has received feeding therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. It has been quite the journey and he has come a long way from that 8 month old baby who couldn't hold a toy in his hand. It makes me tear up when I think about how strong my son is and how hard he has worked over the years. He truly is an amazing little guy.
Why CP needs funding
- There is no known cure for CP.
- Doctors still do not understand the underlying causes or prevention of CP any better than they did 50 years ago.
- In more than 80% of CP cases, the cause is still unknown. CP results from an injury to the brain during development, which can occur during pregnancy or anytime up until the age of two. Only a small percentage of CP is caused by lack of oxygen at birth.
- No dedicated line item funding exists for Cerebral Palsy, despite the fact it is the most common motor disability in childhood affecting over 800,000 Americans.
You can help change the way Cerebral Palsy is funded by signing a petition asking Congress to add CP research to the budget. They need to know that a disorder that affects so many families cannot be ignored anymore.