Cerebral Palsy (also known as CP) is an umbrella term used for a group of medical disorders that involve the brain and nervous system. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control areas of the brain known as the cerebrum. This restricts control over body coordination and proper posture resulting in a loss of muscle tone. To help, the Canadian government helps those diagnosed with the condition afford better care and treatment through the Disability Tax Credit for Cerebral Palsy.
Those suffering from CP also develop difficulties with sensation, depth perception, communication abilities and, in certain cases, impairments with cognition. In approximately 33 percent of reported cases, cerebral palsy is accompanied by epilepsy. There is no known cure for cerebral palsy, yet with proper medical attention and care, the complications can be effectively managed.
Approximately 40,000 Canadians live with cerebral palsy, and the overwhelming majority of diagnosed cases are congenital, meaning they are present at birth or develop very soon after. Cerebral palsy is not “caused” by external factors nor brought on by disease. Those with cerebral palsy are born that way.
Classifications of Cerebral Palsy
Children and adults suffering from cerebral palsy have a Canadian disability tax credit available to them. However, before any tax credit for disability is pursued, it is important to recognize the classification systems used to diagnose CP. Knowing how to classify the type of cerebral palsy is necessary to not only gauge the level of impairment but to also ensure that the proper plan of treatment, benefits and educational resources are put into place. Cerebral palsy is commonly classified by the following:
- Severity Level—This method is commonly used to gauge the method and scope of impairment. On this scale, CP ranges from mild to severe.
- Topographical Distribution—This is used to classify what parts of the body are affected. CP affects different parts of the body in different patients. Some only experience a weakness in one arm or leg, while someone else might suffer from complete paralysis in all four limbs.
- Motor Function—Certain types of cerebral palsy cause the muscles to contract erratically and sporadically making the affected limbs stiff and rigid. This is known as spastic or pyramidal CP. Others suffer a reduction or decrease in muscle movement. This type of CP is known as non-spastic or extrapyramidal.
- Gross Motor Function Classification System—This is a 5-level system that helps to identify how extensive the individual’s impairment. It is a universal classification that applies to all forms of CP.
Cerebral palsy is a wide group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions. There are many types and levels of impairment for those suffering from CP. Knowing how to classify the type of cerebral palsy is vitally important before treatment options are explored.
Disability Tax Credit for Cerebral Palsy and Outlook
There is no easy answer to this question. The range of bodily effects brought on by cerebral palsy is so vast and varied that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Though recent discoveries and new research have doctor and clinical scientists optimistic that the future holds the potential to repair the areas of the brain damaged by cerebral palsy, at present, there is no cure. All that can be done is management and treatment of the symptoms.
As every case of cerebral palsy affects each patient differently, each patient requires a unique set of parameters and conditions. It must be stated that many children and older adults with cerebral palsy can go on to lead meaningful, rich, and happy lives. Parents, caregivers, doctors, and others offering assistance can go a long way to helping those with cerebral palsy achieve these goals. The government of Canada also offers assistance to help with the care and treatment expenses of our loved ones with Cerebral Palsy. This is done through the Disability Tax Credit for Cerebral Palsy application with the ultimate goal of helping our loved ones live full, meaningful lives unhampered by such disability.