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Psychological Concerns

The Effects of Growing Up With a Disability

Mental health and psychological issues may hamper a child's development. A child with a disability stemming from a birth injury may blame himself or herself for the disability. A child may also feel hopeless or ostracized from his or her peers. It's important to acknowledge these feelings while helping the child gain confidence and understand the disability.

Helping a child cope with his or her disability is part of the process of raising a child with a birth injury. Listening to the child and acknowledging his or her concerns as he or she grows can help with the psychological side effects of a disability, but there are many other ways to help your child cope.

Actions to Prevent Psychological or Mental Health Issues

In the early years of a child's life, he or she may begin to recognize the disability. The child will likely ask many questions as he or she tries to understand the disability. It's important for parents and family members to listen to these questions and answer them truthfully.

If the child has cerebral palsy and isn't expected to be able to walk without assistance, everyone in the child's life should provide the child with the same answer. Confusing the child or promising that he or she will get better can lead to disappointment and depression later in life.

At a young age, it is also important for parents to reinforce the idea that the birth injury was not the child's fault. Some children with disabilities wrongly assume that their illness or disability is the result of misbehaving or is somehow their fault.

Inform * Emphasize Strengths * Listen * Talk * Socialize *Rehearse

Other important opportunities for parents to minimize the psychological effect of a disability or illness include:

  • Informing the child about the disability
  • Emphasizing the child's strengths or positive traits
  • Listening to the child's questions
  • Talking to the child regularly
  • Socializing the child with other children experiencing a similar disability
  • Rehearsing any stressful or anxiety-filled situations

Mental health and psychological concerns are not always preventable through open and honest discussions with a child. Many children who are diagnosed with a disability from a birth injury may require counseling and psychiatric evaluations to cope with their disability. Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders should be monitored, in conjunction with a trained doctor, to help the child.

It's important to note that treatment and therapy can help a child with a disability adjust to life in a happy and healthy way. Support groups and others experiencing a similar disability may also assist both the child and the family.

To Learn More, Contact The Birth Injury Team

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases. We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child's condition and guiding them through the process of securing the care and support they need. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across the United States.

To discuss additional educational resources with The Birth Injury Team and to learn about your options for taking legal action, contact our office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We serve clients nationwide.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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