Case Study on Cerebral Palsy
Justin is a 20-year-old male who graduated from high school last year. At two years of age, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. The CP involvement was later diagnosed as quadriplegia (involving all four limbs), and Level IV on the Gross Motor Classification System. In his early years of school, Justin was enrolled in a special class for students with orthopedic impairments. During the four years from kindergarten through third grade, Justin was frequently hospitalized for respiratory problems and other illnesses associated with his physical impairments. This led him to falling increasingly further behind in school. While he was not unhappy in the environment, his parents felt that Justin would be challenged to excel as a higher level, both academically and socially, if her were transferred to general education classes with his non-disabled peers. His teachers agreed.
From the third grade (which he repeated) until graduation from high school, Justin was included in age-appropriate general education classes with support from special education. Primarily, Justin’s special education support involved the provision of physical therapy to assist him in increasing his mobility, and speech and language therapy using augmentative communication devices to help in developing communication skills. Special education teachers provided assistance in developing computer skills and helping him learn to use special switches, as well as other assistive technology to access his computer and thus, the academic curriculum.
Despite undergoing numerous surgical procedures (thereby missing school) as part of the orthopedic management of his contractures and deformities related to cerebral palsy, Justin managed average achievement from elementary through high school. Since elementary school, Justin has been non-ambulatory and has used a motorized wheelchair. The wheelchair has a special tray designed to carry a lap top computer. With support from a paraprofessional assistant who helps him with personal care and eating, Justin is able to perform all the learning activities required in school.
Justin is sure he will be able to succeed in the world of work. His goal is to obtain a job in the computer field and work while attending university classes part-time until he graduates with a degree in computer science. Using several different assistive technology devices, Justin has developed a high level of proficiency with the computer. Throughout school, he was a member of a group of young men and women who frequently met during high school to play computer games. Justin not only excelled at these games but was able to alter many of them to make them more challenging and entertaining.
In the past year, one of Justin’s friends from the group found a position with a computer game manufacture as a programmer in research and development. This friend assured Justin that the company would be interested in hiring him also. The pay is excellent and includes benefits; Justin feels that he is even more knowledgeable than his friend in this particular area. He could not think of a single reason not to seek employment with this company – until he spoke to his parents.
His parents explained that, while they wanted to join his excitement, they were concerned that Justin complete his college degree before becoming employed. They reminded him that technology is developing at a phenomenal pace and many technology companies are unable to keep pace and have layoffs or declare bankruptcy. Without a college degree, Justin would find himself out of work with no prospects for finding another job. They asked him if he knew the expectations of the company for work output and whether they expect employees to be able to work at a certain pace.
Justin is sure of what he wants to do. The Americans with Disabilities Act provides some workplace protections against discrimination based on disability and Justin is aware of this. Although he respects his parents and knows they have his best interest at heart, he believes this job is an opportunity of a lifetime. Justin reached a compromise with his parents by agreeing to speak to his rehabilitation counselor at the Department of Rehabilitation and seek the counselor’s advice. Both Justin and his parents agreed to seriously consider the counselor’s ideas.
1. The vocational rehabilitation counselor need to have basic information about the client to recommend a realistic vocational goal. Identify this information.
2. As the counselor, identify how you will handle the dilemma regarding Justin’s potential job and his completion of college.
3. Are the career goals of Justin and those of his parents realistic and compatible with his capabilities and limitations?
4. Identify other possibilities for Justin as a client of the Department of Rehabilitation.
What obstacles to employment may Justin encounter? How 5. limiting is his disability and society’s perception of him, including potential employers? Include a discussion of the concept of a disabling environment.