Cerebral Palsy Treatment and Disability Benefits in Nebraska

Two of the most common questions after parents receive a child's cerebral palsy diagnosis are, "Can we treat this?" and "Can we pay for this?" It is natural to worry about your child's future. As the most common motor disability in childhood, however, cerebral palsy has plentiful resources, treatment centers, and financial aid opportunities for families.

This post will first give a definition of cerebral palsy, then list local treatment centers in Nebraska. Finally, it will discuss how to apply for disability benefits to help pay for the lifetime care of a loved one with cerebral palsy.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy stems from a neurological problem, or damage to the child's brain. A child may have sustained brain damage that caused cerebral palsy at any point during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Less commonly, cerebral palsy can arise from an injury after birth.

Cerebral palsy mainly affects a person's ability to move. It impacts the connections between the brain and the body. This can cause a variety of symptoms, such as:

  • Muscle spasticity, or rigidity
  • Involuntary muscle movements
  • Abnormal muscle tone
  • Lack of coordination
  • Poor depth perception or trouble balancing
  • Bad posture
  • Oral motor function disabilities

Some children will have one or two minor symptoms, while others may display a range of symptoms and struggle with severe disabilities. Each child and case is unique.

Noticing symptoms of cerebral palsy and intervening early can help improve function and quality of life. You cannot cure cerebral palsy, but you can give your child a fulfilling life with a customized treatment plan at a local center.

Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

The goal of cerebral palsy treatment is not to cure the condition, but to improve quality of life. Treatments can help a person with cerebral palsy lead the most normal and healthy life possible. Some of the most important treatment types are therapies.

Physical, occupational, behavioral, and recreational therapies can improve the child's independence and teach important life skills such as communication, social skills, and personal care.

A child may need more invasive treatments such as surgical intervention in severe cerebral palsy cases. Children with severe muscle spasticity can benefit from surgeries to release rigidity, as well as Botox injections for the same purpose.

Other children may need medications to treat pain or prevent cerebral palsy complications, such as seizures. The right treatment plan will depend on the child.

Where to Get Cerebral Palsy Treatment in Nebraska

Parents in Nebraska can turn to a few different local centers for advanced cerebral palsy treatment. Most physicians recommend creating Life Care Plans for children with cerebral palsy, which cover virtually all the medical, educational, and care needs the child may encounter for life. These plans are comprehensive and can help a family map its health care and financial needs. Finding a local center that fits your needs is one of the first steps in cerebral palsy treatment.

Pediatric Orthopaedics at the University of Nebraska
42nd and Emile
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 559-4000

The University of Nebraska's College of Medicine has a pediatric orthopedics division that can offer services to children with cerebral palsy. It handles a variety of musculoskeletal problems in children, including muscle spasticity from cerebral palsy. Coordinated care through the center is available for children with congenital or developmental issues.

Children's Hospital & Medical Center
8200 Dodge St.
Omaha, NE 68114
(800) 833-3100

Children's Hospital & Medical Center offers a neurology department that can treat children with cerebral palsy. It offers treatments to help improve life and personal care skills, including medications, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and surgeries to relieve muscle spasticity.

United Cerebral Palsy of Nebraska
920 S. 107th Ave., Ste. 302
Omaha, NE 68114
(402) 502-3572

United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Nebraska is a leading education and advocacy program in the state. It offers many different programs to help children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities. This local agency provides support to families by hosting events, securing grants, and advocating for the rights of the disabled.

How to Pay for Cerebral Palsy Treatments

Financial resources are available to parents of children with cerebral palsy. With the average lifetime costs of cerebral palsy climbing to almost $1 million, it is normal for parents to seek outside help to cover expenses. Although health insurance can help pay for lifelong medical costs, it may not be enough to give a family financial stability. One source of financial relief a family can seek is the federal government.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two main federal benefits packages available for people with disabilities in the U.S. SSDI is suitable for adults with cerebral palsy, while SSI may be better for children who have never had jobs.

SSI helps low-income individuals and families pay for necessities such as education, housing, clothing, and food. SSDI helps pay for family expenses as well, but is only available to those 18 and older with work credits.

A great place for information about SSI for families just starting with federal benefits is the SSI Child Disability Starter Kit. This website has facts, checklists, and information about how to apply for SSI benefits for a child with cerebral palsy. You can apply for benefits online, over the phone at (800) 772-1213, or in person at a Nebraska Social Security office near you.