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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Support Groups of Families with Babies with Brain Injuries

Life with a baby who has suffered a brain injury can be stressful and uncertain. Support groups offer group therapy that involves other people with similar experiences. Participants engage in discussions of topics related to infant brain injuries and meet with other people who have babies with different forms of injuries. Some are coping with different stages of the process and with situations of varying degrees.

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Support groups come in many forms. The types of groups that can be found across Ohio include:

  • Groups for specific types of brain injuries and conditions, such as cerebral palsy.
  • Groups for people who take on a specific role, such as caring for an affected baby.
  • Support for parents of babies with birth injuries.
  • Therapy groups for people who themselves have brain injuries.
  • Networks related to specific areas of malpractice.

How Support Groups Can Help

Elk & Elk

A participant can simply talk about their experience to be heard and receive empathy from others. Being part of a group can also provide access to guidance. Caring, helpful members can discuss the process of finding doctors that specialize in the field, or even recommend specialists, or even talk about how to proceed with a lawsuit. Recommendations of research materials can help a great deal. If there are certain medications that may aid in the baby’s recovery and rehabilitation, a group member may have had experience with it, so can offer insights that ordinarily would be hard to come by.

The experience isn’t limited to discussions about the experience and information gathering. There may be grants, scholarships, and supplementary assistance programs that aren’t always highly publicized. It’s not always obvious how to qualify for such programs either, but parents in the group can offer some invaluable information to help understand such crucial details.

  • Help for Parents: Mothers and fathers can join a support group to feel comforted and less isolated. All members of the group feel the same way; perhaps they blame themselves for the problem. Oftentimes, a medical mistake leads to an infant brain injury, and each participant can help the other come to terms with this. Discussions about resources, legal matters, and insurance providers can point one in the right direction, not to mention connect one with other parents in a friendly and compassionate way.
  • Help for individuals: People with birth and brain injuries, including infants, can be enrolled into a support group. This enables parents to connect even more closely with others who have the same or similar experience. Individuals can connect with others in similar situations from an early age. As they grow, companionship, activities, and guidance on how to navigate obstacles in life are more accessible. This is important, as children with birth injuries tend to feel alone and isolated as they grow.

Support Groups in Ohio

The Brain Injury Association of Ohio lists a wide range of support groups by county. In Columbus, Ohio, the Dempsey Family Education and Resource Center Support Group is led by experienced staff members at the Ohio Rehabilitation Hospital. It’s designed for survivors and caregivers. In Lucas County, the University of Toledo Medical Center Outpatient Rehabilitation runs a program for both people with brain injuries and their family members.

Akron Children’s Hospital provides a family support system. Its Parent Mentor Program connects people with other parents with similar experiences. The program is just one of numerous family supports the institution offers, many of which focus on parents of children with various medical experiences.

The Brain Injury Association of America, in general, is a good place to look. Not only can the site connect people and provide access to information and resources; it can connect one with leading experts in the field. Personal stories from parents can provide insights and inspiration. One can even start discussions by commenting on the posts of others. Supportive resources include links for caregivers and dealing with family stress, in addition to those dealing with the many facets of living with and rehabilitating from a brain injury.

Attending a Support Group

There are several ways to find out about local support groups. A community bulletin board is a great place to start; libraries and adult centers usually have them in an easily accessible place. The types of groups and their schedules may be listed. Hospitals post such bulletins as well, particularly those related to medical issues and therapy. The Internet is a valuable resource because it is easy to search for groups in a specific area, intended for a specific purpose, or which are locally based or even use a social media format.

Attending a support group doesn’t usually come with much pressure to attend regularly. It is there to help serve your needs, but it’s generally understood members have busy lives and jobs. Parents with a baby that has a brain injury have many obligations, so attending a meeting only occasionally can still yield the same benefits as going more often. The group will try to help in any way it can.

To find and connect with others going through a similar experience, it isn’t necessarily a requirement to show up anywhere in person. Facebook has a Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group. Members can talk about anything related to what they’re going through. Thousands of people are part of the group, which includes videos, photos, and other media that cover topics ranging from individuals who recently suffered a traumatic brain injury to infants who suffer brain injuries at birth.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 62,000 individuals ages 0 to 19 sustain brain injuries every year in the United States. A baby’s undeveloped brain can recover from an injury, but it can be hard to assess the full extent of the damage and predict recovery. The physical, cognitive, and emotional impairments can be challenging for individuals and their families and friends. Support groups can make all the difference in finding the proper resources, and at the very least other people who are going through a similar experience.