Kansas City children who struggle with disabilities that resulted after an injury at birth often find it difficult to enjoy many things that other children can.  Mental and physical limitations make it tough for children with conditions such as cerebral palsy to have fun on an outing to the petting zoo or a local farm. 

Disabilities like cerebral palsy are often the result of complications during the birthing process.  Cerebral palsy actually refers to a group of disorders that affect the child's motor, mental, and neurological development.  Symptoms of cerebral palsy include:
  1. Lack of coordination and issues with balance
  2. Spasticity, or stiff and tightening muscles
  3. Walking irregularly
  4. Speech problems, such as slurring
  5. Difficulty with small motor functions
  6. Drooling and difficulty swallowing
  7. Mental and developmental delays

Complications from other birth injuries such as shoulder dystocia can make life difficult for Kansa City children.  Shoulder dystocia is the name for the condition that occurs when the newborn's shoulder is caught in the birth canal after the head is delivered.  The baby becomes stuck, and damage to the tender nerves and muscles of the upper arm can lead to crippling injuries to the Brachial plexus, or the nerves in the upper shoulder region that affect the arms and hands. 

Other disabilities like Erb's palsy and Klumpke palsy affect the usage of the arm and can cause permanent abnormalities.  Erb's palsy is characterized by damage to the muscles in the upper arm.  The child's arm hangs in an irregular angle, and the use of the arm is extremely limited.  Klumpke palsy involves the muscles in the lower part of the arm, causing the hand forms a claw-like grip.  The nerves in the hand are damaged.  There is little sensation in the palm and the claw-like grip is continuous.

For children who live with these difficulties, animal therapy offers a chance for the child to step outside of the normal confines of their disabilities.  Specially trained animals, like dolphins, dogs, and horses provide these children with the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives as well as to make a positive impact on their physical and mental development.

For the child who is plagued with permanent disability, the chance to swim with the gentle dolphins is a dreamDolphin Therapy for Child with Cerebral Palsycome true.  Dolphins are naturally friendly to humans.  Their gentle nature makes it easy for a child to quickly become comfortable with the animals.  Dolphin therapy may involve hanging on to the fin as the dolphin gently glides through the water.

The opportunity alone to swim with the dolphins can have a positive impact on the disabled child.  The child will work harder to enjoy the outing.  Other benefits include an increased attention span, as well as improving fine and pare motor skills. Moving around through the water is also beneficial in that exercise in water helps to increase strength and flexibility.  Moreover, children with birth injuries come away from the experience with a sense of joy and well-being, which can decrease their stress levels and improve their lives significantly.

Canine therapy offers a different sort of benefit to children with disabilities.  Specially trained therapy dogs can provide children with cerebral palsy and other similar conditions with physical and cognitive benefits, but they also give the child a priceless friendship.  Therapy dogs can become permanent fixtures in the disabled child's life.  If they live with the child, the canine therapist may just become the child's best friend.  Perhaps the greatest benefit for a child with disabilities is the emotional benefit therapy dogs provide.  

Therapy dogs may also serve as guide dogs for children with visual impairments, and assist the disabled in common household chores such turning on and off light switches, retrieving dropped items, and alerting help if there is a medical urgency.  Therapy dogs can also be trained to alert the child before a seizure is about to take place, which is another common symptom for cerebral palsy patients. 

Disabilities that are the result of birth injuries require a lifetime of care.  The financial burden for medical care and other expenses for children with birth injuries can become staggering for a family.  

Has Your Child Been Injured By The Negligence Of Others?

If your child has been injured it's important to speak with an experienced child injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.

James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.