Many families pursuing international adoption are intimidated by the options, the process, as well as the potential challenges. So when a family hears about “special needs” adoption, they can feel completely overwhelmed.
But the truth is that most of these special needs are quite misunderstood and often can be corrected with minor treatments or training.
This week, we put a special focus on special needs adoption by taking a revealing look at cerebral palsy. The following was written by Joan Francis, an attorney whose expertise is in Family, Disability and Juvenile Law, and who has also adopted a special needs child.
“What is cerebral palsy (CP)?
Any situation involving any level of brain damage immediately before, during, or within about a year after birth is essentially by definition “cerebral palsy,” unless other diagnoses also apply. Typically this is due to deprivation of oxygen on a temporary basis or bleeding in the brain, which sometimes occurs in very premature infants. Injury to the brain after a child is one year old is usually called TBI (traumatic brain injury) —for example: a blow to the head, near-drowning, shaken baby, etc.
Many with CP may have great difficulties in one area (such as severe dyslexia) but display almost photographic memory, dramatic intuitive thought, and comprehension, as well as other unexpected gifts as well.
CP is a STABLE condition; it does not worsen, but can definitely improve over time. By itself it does not shorten life expectancy and so on. Continue reading