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When parents learn that their child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it’s not uncommon for them to experience a multitude of emotions ranging from anger and anxiety to guilt and sadness. For some, these feelings are traced to concerns that their child will be deprived of the opportunity to participate in some of life’s more richly rewarding activities.
The good news, however, is that this is no longer the case. In fact, more and more people diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth are now breaking barriers, participating in those activities that people would have once thought impossible, from running marathons to announcing baseball games.
As a further illustration, consider a community center in the St. Louis area where children diagnosed with cerebral palsy have been gathering once a week for the last 13 years to participate in dance classes.
The dance classes were started by a professional dancer whose daughter was long ago diagnosed with the condition.
Here, the mother was spurred to action after speaking with Dr. Jan Brunstrom, a highly regarded physician who founded the Cerebral Palsy Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and who also has cerebral palsy. During one appointment, Dr. Brunstrom asked the mother what her goals were for her daughter and she replied that she wanted her daughter to be able to dance just as she had.
The rest is history, as every Monday night just after 6 p.m., the dancing mother, along with hospital volunteers and university students, gather to teach children diagnosed with cerebral palsy all types of dances from the Mexican hat dance to the tango.
“I think in dance class they’re kind of free to be whoever they want to be and dance the way they want to dance,” said the dancing mother. “I love to change lives, I love to make people happy.”
Here’s hoping these classes last for many more years and that more places around the country follow suit. …
Background on cerebral palsy
For those unfamiliar with cerebral palsy, it is a serious condition that can cause a host of medical problems in children ranging from vision, hearing and speech problems to muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and mobility issues.
While medical experts have yet to identify all of the causes of cerebral palsy, they have found that oxygen deprivation either during delivery or shortly after birth is one of the more frequent causes.
Please contact a legal professional to learn more if you feel that the onset of cerebral palsy was due to the failure of an OB/GYN to monitor the health of your baby during the delivery or a pediatrician’s failure to diagnose a health issue during your child’s early development.
Source: KSDK, “Dance class for kids with cerebral palsy,” Mike Bush, Nov. 24, 2013
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