Helping Your Child Cope with Erb’s Palsy

Approximately two to five out of every 1,000 births result in brachial plexus injuries, such as Erb’s Palsy, according to the United Brachial Plexus Network. Erb’s palsy symptoms vary in degree from baby to baby and can rob children of many milestones.

As your child gets older, he or she will need answers about the condition. He or she will need support as the child is forced to face limitations and challenges that his or her peers won’t. It’s important to be able to explain your child’s condition as best you can, build a support network to help your family cope, and ensure you child gets the best medical treatments and therapy available.

Talking to Your Child about His Condition

Children need answers in a way they can understand. This does not mean to talk down to your child or sugarcoat the facts. It means to explain the facts simply and in layman’s terms. Children need to know the reasoning behind what’s occurring. You can explain the basic anatomy of the brachial plexus, how the injury occurred, and how it has affected him or her.

As your child gets older, he will need more detailed explanations. Your child might get frustrated with all the medical appointments, surgeries and occupational therapy. She might go through a rollercoaster of emotions as she hits roadblocks in development.

You can learn all you can about Erb’s palsy and be the support your child needs. You can help your child work toward improvement and learn to work around his limitations. It might also be a good idea to see a family counselor to help your family cope with this emotional journey.

Building a Support System

Having a child with Erb’s palsy affects the whole family. Having a support system in place is essential. You can begin by looking for local support groups for children with brachial plexus injuries or disabilities in general.

You can help increase awareness of Erb’s palsy and help your child cope in school and sports with the resources that the United Brachial Plexus Network offers online. Some of the helpful, free resources it provides include: 

  • fact sheets and booklets you can give to coaches, teachers, school nurses and classroom teachers;
  • Outreach Magazine;
  • ideas and resources to promote awareness;
  • a medical directory; and
  • a forum for open discussion and support. 

The Financial Implications of Erb’s Palsy

The level of care and treatment required for Erb’s palsy can translate into astronomical medical bills. Surgeries, medical appointments and extensive occupational therapy are extremely costly.

Furthermore, as the United Brachial Plexus Network explains, “Many families and individuals with brachial plexus injuries face ongoing struggles with insurance companies to obtain coverage for treatment related to their disability. Most insurance companies are unaware or do not understand the treatment protocol for brachial plexus injuries.”

While not always the case, Erb’s palsy may be a preventable condition caused by inappropriate actions of the medical staff during delivery. If you suspect your child’s injury is related to negligence, speak to an injury attorney about your situation and discuss your legal options. You can contact Chalik & Chalik at (855) 529-0269. And check out our Parents’ Corner for more parent-centered articles.