Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Massachusetts

As the first-time parent of a child diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you are likely searching for information about available treatments, success stories, financial assistance, and other important considerations. Cerebral palsy is a life-changing diagnosis, but help is available for families.

Let this page be a resource for cerebral palsy treatments and disability benefits in the state of Massachusetts. It will discuss the definition of cerebral palsy, current treatments available in Massachusetts, and the processes for obtaining disability benefits.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological conditions that affect motor function. Cerebral means "of the brain," while palsy means "lack of muscle control." Cerebral palsy can impact many aspects of life, including movement, balance, flexibility, and posture. Symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary significantly from person to person, but may include:

  • Muscle tremors or spasms
  • Rigidity
  • Unusual muscle tone
  • Poor coordination
  • Abnormal reflexes
  • Difficulty eating or talking
  • Mental disabilities

Each case is unique. Some children may be able to walk on their own, while others may have to rely on assistive devices. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor function disability in childhood. Worldwide, more than 17 million people are currently living with cerebral palsy. If a doctor has diagnosed your child with cerebral palsy, you are not alone.

Cerebral Palsy Treatment Options

Although no known cure exists for cerebral palsy, children can benefit from early intervention, rehabilitation and therapies. Some of the most popular therapies for children with cerebral palsy are physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreational therapy, and speech therapy. Diagnosing this condition early and seeking treatment can improve a child's motor function, balance, communication skills, and independence.

Many children with cerebral palsy require assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs for mobility. With consistent physical therapy, however, some children may be able to learn to walk on their own, or to transition from a wheelchair to a walker, or a walker to crutches.

Some families have taken treatment a step further, with experimental umbilical cord blood infusions and stem cell trials. Patients have experienced incredible results with these treatments, but more research is necessary before it becomes an FDA-approved option for patients.

Where to Get Cerebral Palsy Treatment in Massachusetts

Creating a comprehensive care plan for your child at a young age can help your child reach his or her fullest potential. A care plan should include local hospitals and specialized treatment centers for cerebral palsy in Massachusetts.

It should list the names of your child's doctors, teachers, caregivers, and more. Trusting the right doctor and enrolling your child in high-quality therapies can be much easier if you find a facility with extensive experience, knowledge, and resources for cerebral palsy in Massachusetts.

Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Center
300 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 355-6000

The Cerebral Palsy and Spasticity Center at the Boston's Children's Hospital is one of the leading treatment centers in the world. It has physicians with extensive experience with cerebral palsy cases, as well as the tools for non-surgical therapies and advanced surgical interventions. It has been at the forefront of cerebral palsy treatment for over 60 years. It also has a focus on cerebral palsy complication prevention.

Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center
800 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 636-5000

Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston has several neurologists on staff who specialize in care and treatments for cerebral palsy patients, as part of its Floating Hospital for Children. They have a network of accomplished physicians, hospitals, and educational centers to improve health care quality and service. The Floating Hospital for Children has a Cerebral Palsy Program that offers specialized care for children and adolescents.

Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 726-2000

The Massachusetts General Hospital offers cerebral palsy treatment, medicine, and therapies through its Pediatric Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation team. This team focuses on maximizing potential, quality of life, and functional abilities for special needs children of all types. Parents can find physical, speech, occupational, and other therapies here.

Disability Benefits for Cerebral Palsy

Paying for a child with cerebral palsy's health care needs can be difficult for the typical family. Cerebral palsy treatments and care can cost thousands of dollars each year. Luckily, federal and state programs offer financial benefits and programs to help families with cerebral palsy. Under List 11.07, the federal Social Security Administration will offer financial benefits for children and adults with cerebral palsy.

The recipient must have the inability to control at least two of his or her extremities, as well as difficulty balancing while standing or walking. Otherwise, someone may qualify if cerebral palsy impacts the ability to perform work.

Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits online, by calling (800) 772-1213, or through a local Social Security office. Massachusetts has dozens of Social Security offices available in multiple cities. Search the list for the office closest to you. The office can help you file your initial request, appeal a denial, attend case hearings, and otherwise fight for financial assistance for cerebral palsy.

Families may also qualify for additional financial benefits for cerebral palsy, including educational scholarships or help from governmental programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Using the financial resources available to your family can make living with cerebral palsy easier.