Grants Help Some, But Not All
Caring for a child with special needs, such as
cerebral palsy, carries a number of costs. Some of these costs are recurring: food, medicine,
and other consumables must be purchased monthly, and the lifetime cost
of this care can be extremely high.
However, the immediate costs of items such as accessible housing, wheelchairs,
and a vehicle equipped to handle a wheelchair are much higher. Modifications
to an existing residence to make it accessible to someone in a wheelchair
can run into the tens of thousands of dollars; a simple electric wheelchair
can cost five to ten thousand dollars.
The cost of a van to handle transportation of a child with cerebral palsy
can be even more than these costs; a van itself can be around fifty thousand
dollars; the modifications can add ten to twenty thousand dollars on top
of that amount.
Many families are not equipped to put up these kinds of up-front costs,
and may be without insurance to help. Medicaid coverage often does not
cover the costs of some of the more expensive modifications that must
be made to make a house or vehicle accessible.
There are some grants available in some states to assist those with children
who have cerebral palsy in acquiring things such as an accessible vehicle.
For example the Hirth family from Muskoka, Ontario was given a $20,000 grant from
the President's Choice Children's Charity. This money was given
with the understanding that the Hirths would use it to purchase a van
that was wheelchair accessible for their son Basil.
When children with cerebral palsy, such as Basil, are younger, it is easier
to carry them or transport them in a stroller or other type of infant
carrier. However, among children with cerebral palsy, mobility may continue
to be a major issue for the rest of their life, past the point where they
can fit into a stroller. Providing an electric wheelchair, and a means
to transport that wheelchair, is crucial to ensuring they can attend school,
therapies, and essentially, to provide them with a means of independent living.
The Hirths understand that "cerebral palsy is unique as the disorder
affects children in different ways, especially depending on the level
of severity" and that you have to "take each day one day at
a time". However, if cerebral palsy comes about as a result of an
injury at or around the time of birth, you may be able to recover a verdict
or settlement that can assist your family in providing the accessible
equipment that your child needs. An experienced
birth injury lawyer in Chicago, such as those at Beam & Raymond, can evaluate your case and assist
you in moving forward.