Term Paper: Young Adult Living With Cerebral

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[. . .] John's Financial Income person living with a disability often finds he is faced with a tremendous financial burden.

Many will have to spend "20% more than the average person on daily living expenses (McDonnell, 1994)."

They have to buy services that most people are able to do for themselves. Having a personal aid help with bathing, dressing or fixing meals can cost over $30,000 a year, but the American Disabled for Attendant Care Programs Today (ADAPT) states a nursing home can cost twice as much (McDonnell, 1994).

However, in a recent survey of people with cerebral palsy, "fifty-four percent indicated they had adequate financial resources (Becker, 1995)."

Most disabled individuals qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

This federally funded assistance program is overseen by the Social Security Administration.

For many disabled Americans, SSI is the only source of income they receive. In 1994, a disabled person only received $377 a month (McDonnell, 1994).

John will use his monthly income from SSI to help pay for his living expenses. The counselors at his group home will assist him in making a budget. John also receives help from the United Cerebral Palsy Association in obtaining funds for his educational needs (Dzienkonski, 1996). He relies on assistance from VESID to provide additional equipment that may be needed and that is too costly for him to obtain otherwise.

Enjoying Life

Just because a person suffers from a disability, it does not mean they can't participate in many of the leisure activities enjoyed by most individuals. Professionals believe allowing those who are handicapped to participate in recreational activities boosts the self-esteem of the individual.

Groups such as Therapeutic Recreation Program "provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate leisure activities (Acord, 1996)." For a small fee, they tailor group programs to meet the individual needs of the client, such as "skiing, whitewater rafting, water sports, hiking and camping, and rock climbing (Acord, 1996)."

New methods of participating in sports are constantly being devised. John Castellano, a bike designer who became a paraplegic after a car accident in 1989, "invented a hybrid wheelchair/mountain bike (Acord, 1996)" as a means to get back outdoors. Today, there are also special programs which help those in wheelchairs ride horses.

With all of the opportunities available, John needs to mainly choose what activities interest him. He has discovered he enjoys the challenge of climbing walls, always making sure there is an instructor available to assist him. Climbing walls are a wonderful way for a person with cerebral palsy to utilize specific affected muscle groups. John also finds by using special saddles designed for people with disabilities, he is able to enjoy nature by taking long horseback rides along park trails.

Because John enjoys all outdoor activities, he has expressed a desire to try whitewater rafting in the near future.

Health Care Needs

People with cerebral palsy will have specific medical needs for their entire lives. Many times, the person will need to have major orthopedic surgery to release tightly curled muscles (unknown, 2001). They have their hamstrings cut surgically to prevent "spasticity-plagued muscles from interfering with bone growth (Vergano, 2001)." Many will need physical therapy for the rest of their lives to exercise their muscles and prevent additional contractures, while some find electrical treatments for back muscles beneficial. Only one-third of people with cerebral palsy suffer from "serious intellectual impairment, and can lead full lives if they don't allow muscles to atrophy (Vergano, 2001).

There are new treatments constantly being discovered to aid those with cerebral palsy. One such treatment is injections of deadly botulinum toxin (unknown, 2001). These injections are providing individuals with cerebral palsy "new-found mobility and a chance to develop essential skills without the need for surgery (unknown, 2001)." The toxin works by relaxing the spastic muscles in the person's arms and legs allowing the individual to dress and feed themselves and walk without assistance. The person needs to receive the shots every six to twelve months and will not forget the skills they have perfected. These shots not only increase the individual's confidence and independence level, but family members have many burdens removed from them in terms of caring for the person (unknown, 2001).

Many people who originally thought their only relief from cerebral palsy was surgery, are now surprised to discover the benefits of martial-arts. Doctors are finding those who were originally sentenced to life in a wheelchair, are able to "reconnected to their bodies (Vergano, 2001)" using this form of physical therapy. Not only is it beneficial for the person's body, but since they actually enjoy the exercise, they are more likely to attend the classes and obtain a boost in their confidence level.

Martial arts not only increase a person's strength, but also gives them better control of their body. Martial arts are totally opposite of cerebral palsy. It centers on control of movement and control of power, and improves the individual's focus and self-discipline (Vergano, 2001).

John currently uses a walker, which he will continue utilizing to assist him in getting around campus and his group home. It may prove beneficial for John to check with the local hospital for the availability of karate classes for individuals with cerebral palsy. John needs to practice motor skills for the parts of his body that are most affected by cerebral palsy (Vergano, 2001).

He needs to continue physical therapy to prevent his muscles from atrophying. John's family and physician are currently looking into the availability of the botulinum injections in an effort to increase John's independence and mobility.

Creating a Social Life

Although a person has decreased mobility, he stills needs to interact with others. John has been referred to several support groups for individuals with cerebral palsy.

One group is Very Specials Arts (VSA), which is "an international organization and educational affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. (Torkelson, 1996)."

This program is a "non-profit, volunteer-based organization (Torkelson, 1996)" that gives people with disabilities a chance to interact with those without disabilities in an enjoyable and creative environment (Torkelson, 1996). The activities, which are tailored to the individuals interests and ability, include music, dance, drama, and visual arts.

Some people with cerebral palsy describe "art activity as having an even more basic educational value, since it teaches people to work towards something... To have a goal (Torkelson, 1996)." Others find the freedom of moving to the rhythm of music gives them another way to express themselves.

Most professionals believe that participation in group-oriented community-based expressive art programming enhances a disabled individual's social and communication skills (Torkelson, 1996). Since John's social skills will increase significantly by attending group art programs, his parents have already made inquiries about the local VSA programs. John will also be attending social activities at his group home, allowing him a chance to interact with his peers.

Just because a person has physical disabilities, it does not mean he doesn't have sexual needs. "Cerebral palsy has no physical effect on sexual desire (sexualhealth.com)" and erectile function is not usually affected. The main problem a person with cerebral palsy experiences is the negative attitude socially. If a person feels he is not sexually attractive, he will sometimes psychologically lose his sexual desires. Individuals sometimes have trouble finding someone to have a relationship with, since most of society asexualizes them (sexualhealth.com). However, a recent study of men with cerebral palsy found most of them had either had sexual relationships or were currently in a relationship.

It is important for John to realize that communication is essential in a relationship since there may be difficulties in some of the physical aspects, such as kissing, holding hands, or sexual positioning. Since there can be limitations on sexual positions, John may have to be creative during lovemaking, which many women look upon as a positive aspect of the relationship (sexualhealth.com). John must remember to protect himself and his partner by using appropriate birth control. If necessary, he should be counseled by his physician on possible sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS.

Transportation Issues

Transportation is a critical issue for a person with cerebral palsy.

Efforts are being made to improve mobility for disabled individuals. There are rental cars and vans with hand controls and wheelchair lifts currently available for people with cerebral palsy (http://www.ucpa.org/ucp_channel.cfm/1/19).Fixed route systems, paratransit and commuter systems are becoming more accessible as companies are realizing the growing need for these services. Those with disabilities are finding airlines, bus companies and railway systems now provide better access to their services, thus giving them greater mobility.

John is taking a step toward his independence by temporarily renting a car with hand controls. VESID is assisting with the rental costs of the vehicle. John will use the car to get to school, physical therapy, doctor appointments, and any group activities he may be involved in. He also has complete public transportation information to get from his group home to school in the event that he has… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Young Adult Living With Cerebral.  (2002, December 9).  Retrieved March 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/young-adult-living-cerebral/7945604

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"Young Adult Living With Cerebral."  Essaytown.com.  December 9, 2002.  Accessed March 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/young-adult-living-cerebral/7945604.