Community Awareness

The caring and knowledgeable staff at Upstate Cerebral Palsy is always available to answer questions regarding care or services for yourself or a family member. Please contact the agency Family Connect help line at 1-800-470-4999 or email family.connect@upstatecp.org with questions.

Following is a short reference guide for families according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. People with ASD may communicate, interact, behave and learn in ways that are different from other people. The learning, thinking, and problem-solving abilities of people with ASD can widely range. Some people with ASD require a lot of help in their daily lives and others require less. According to the Centers for Disease Control, currently 1 in 68 American children has autism.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood. CP is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain that affects a person’s ability to control his or her muscles. The symptoms of CP vary from person to person. A person with severe CP might need to use special equipment to be able to walk, or might not be able to walk at all and might require lifelong care. A person with mild CP, on the other hand, might not need any special help. CP does not get worse over time, though the exact symptoms can change over a person's lifetime.

Down syndrome

Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small “packages” of genes in the body. They determine how a baby’s body forms during pregnancy and how the baby’s body functions as it grows in the womb and after birth. Typically, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, chromosome 21. This extra copy changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges.

ADHD

ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or may be overly active.

Developmental Delays

Well-child visits allow doctors and nurses to have regular contact with children to keep track of or monitor a child’s health and development through periodic developmental screening. Developmental screening is a short test to tell if a child is learning basic skills when he or she should, or if there are delays. Developmental screening can also be done by other professionals in health care, community, or school settings. The doctor might ask you some questions or talk and play with the child during an examination to see how he or she plays, learns, speaks, behaves, and moves. A delay in any of these areas could be a sign of an issue.

Mental Health

Mental health is a state of well-being in which a person realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Mental illness is defined as “health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” Depression is the most common type of mental illness, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world.

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