Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that limits brain development. A child may be born with cerebral palsy or develop the disease in the early years of childhood. This group of disorders affects movement and coordination in the body. Early signs of cerebral palsy include delayed development, difficulty in swallowing and speaking, weak arms and legs, and impaired learning.
Raising a child with cerebral palsy can be quite challenging. As a parent, you should know that your child has different needs than other children their age. So, consider the seven following factors while raising your child with cerebral palsy.
The more you know, the better
Doctors start the treatment of children with cerebral palsy right after the diagnosis. The treatments include physical, speech, and occupational therapies. Sometimes, they prescribe medicines to ease the sore and stiff muscles. In some cases, surgeries are also required.
As a parent, you may feel out of your depth during this complicated and lengthy medical procedure. Regardless, you need to stay on top of your child’s treatment. Gather as much information as you can through any means necessary. Stay in contact with the doctor constantly. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Stay informed about the latest therapies for cerebral palsy, and consult your doctor regarding them. Many online resources provide information on how to support a child with cerebral palsy and links to financial and emotional support groups. Go through the resources thoroughly and stay as informed as you possibly can.
Every child with cerebral palsy is different
Cerebral palsy is a name given to a group of disorders. Every child experiences different symptoms of varying intensity. Due to the nature of the disease, some children may experience slight tremors in their limbs that can affect motor function. Others may experience speech impairment and communication difficulties.
No two families have the same experience dealing with children with cerebral palsy. Instead of focusing on other parents’ experiences, try to understand how unique your child’s condition is. Consult your doctor to know the full extent of your child’s needs and follow the treatment plans accordingly. If you suspect that your child’s cerebral palsy was caused by negligence, contact a Cerebral Palsy solicitor to help you claim compensation for injuries.
They need extra care and attention
Children with cerebral palsy are classified as special needs children. As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you need to go the extra mile to provide for them emotionally. They need additional help from you to carry out their everyday tasks like walking, eating, and learning. If you wish to homeschool your child, take assistance from special education consultants and counselors for effective results.
Doctors recommend daily exercises to keep the muscles from getting stiff. Children who are more physically active respond to therapies quicker and better. You should design special activities for your children to keep them healthy and active.
Temper tantrums are normal
According to research conducted by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, almost 25% of people with cerebral palsy have behavioral issues. 66% of children with CP are unable to walk. Moreover, about 75% of them experience constant pain in their muscles and joints.
These statistics should make you understand why your children feel so frustrated all the time. Most children with cerebral palsy are aware of their disabilities. When things don’t go the way they want, throwing a tantrum is only natural. This behavior is often linked to feelings of being unaccepted and misunderstood.
Sometimes, you alone cannot deal with frequent temper tantrums. It is important to consult a behavioral therapist regularly to teach your child how to let out their emotions in a healthy manner.
They may have trouble sleeping
Sleeping disorders are common in children with cerebral palsy. Studies show that 36% of children with cerebral palsy have pathological sleep patterns. Many factors are responsible for disrupting your child’s sleep cycle like seizures, joint pain, and troubled breathing. As a parent, you can make sure that your child is comfortable throughout the night by creating a calming bedtime routine.
A healthy diet can do wonders
Medications and therapies are not the only treatment strategies for children with cerebral palsy. As a parent, you need to make sure that your child eats nutritious food every day. Food rich in calcium and vitamin D can work wonders to keep the bones strong and healthy. Consult a nutritionist or a dietician to make a food plan that benefits your child the most.
You cannot care for your child if you are exhausted
Caring for a special needs child can take a toll on your physical and mental health. At times you may feel exhausted and frustrated. After all, you are a teacher, a therapist, a doctor, and, more importantly, a friend to your child. With so many roles, you tend to ignore your needs. In these situations, remember that you need to take care of yourself to take care of your child. Take some time for self-care, consult a therapist, and attend to your needs without feeling guilty for having them.
Cerebral palsy is a lifelong condition with no cure. It is tough for a parent to watch their child go through so much pain and discomfort every day. All you can do is make their lives as normal as possible and be there for them whenever they want you. Disabilities don’t decide the ultimate course of their lives.