Cerebral palsy is a group of developmental disorders that limit 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 of the child, 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 your child has more diverse needs than normal children his age.
That said, here is a list of ways to care for your child with cerebral palsy.
1. Know Your Options
A cerebral palsy diagnosis can drain you both emotionally and financially, especially when it is caused by medical malpractice. Studies show that around 10-18% of cerebral palsy diagnoses are due to birth injuries caused by medical malpractice.
In such cases, parents can file a lawsuit against the hospital and gain up to $1 million as a payout.
Since there is no cure for cerebral palsy, treatment, and therapies continue throughout the child’s lifetime. A payout from a medical malpractice lawsuit, if claimed right, can give you a head start on your child’s treatment.
Various resources like www.cerebralpalsyguide.com can connect you to experts who can guide you through the process.
2. Stay Informed
After a cerebral palsy diagnosis, doctors advise the parents to start the treatment immediately. These treatments aim to improve the child’s learning and motor skills. Usually, the doctors observe the signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy in the child and advise different therapies accordingly.
These may be physical, speech, or occupational therapy, usually in the same order. In addition, some medication is also prescribed to ease sore muscles and facilitate movement.
As a parent, you may feel out of depth regarding the lengthy and complicated medical procedures. The best way to stay in the loop is to do your research. Learn as much as you can regarding the treatment procedures.
Educate yourself on how you can contribute towards your child’s treatment. Stay in touch with the doctor, and do not hesitate to ask questions. Keep up with the latest therapy options for cerebral palsy and discuss them with the doctor.
3. Find Parents with Similar Experiences
According to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM), Network, 3 in 1000 children under eight are diagnosed with cerebral palsy in the US.
There are various communities of parents with children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Such communities offer support to each other and share their experiences with new parents on how to raise a child with cerebral palsy.
Taking care of a child with cerebral palsy is challenging. Your journey becomes easier when you can learn from other people’s experiences. Such communities can also help you find resources that help you with your child’s medication and therapy sessions.
4. Embrace your Child’s Uniqueness
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.
While communities can help you gain insight into how to raise a child with cerebral palsy, improvements must be made.
Spend quality time with your child and learn their behavioral patterns. Utilize the resources available and help your child become comfortable with their differences.
5. Give your Child Extra Care and Attention
Children who are diagnosed with cerebral palsy are classified as special needs children. They need additional support for everyday activities like walking, talking, eating, and learning.
As a parent, your child needs you to go the extra mile to help them physically and emotionally.
Spend as much time with your child as possible. Engage in various activities that help them enhance their motor and learning skills. Engage them in physical activities like walking, running, and doing exercises.
Once your child is old enough to start school, enroll them in schools that specialize in educating children with cerebral palsy. You can also opt to homeschool your child.
Talk to special education teachers and counselors to determine the best course of action.
6. Work on their Behavioral Issues
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 muscle and joint pain.
These statistics should make you understand why your children always feel frustrated. Most children with cerebral palsy are aware of their disabilities. When things don’t go their way, throwing a tantrum is natural.
This behavior is often linked to feelings of being unaccepted and misunderstood.
Work with them to understand their emotions.
Help them feel understood and accepted. Discover the root cause of their discomfort and try to eliminate that.
Sometimes, you alone cannot deal with frequent temper tantrums. Consult a behavioral therapist regularly to teach your child how to release their emotions healthily.
7. Work Up a Routine that Works for Them
A routine brings balance into the lives of children with cerebral palsy. As a parent, set a timetable and follow it diligently. Due to impaired body functions, your child may suffer from additional challenges like sleeping or eating disorders.
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, ensure your child is comfortable throughout the night by creating a calming bedtime routine.
As a parent, seeing your child suffering from cerebral palsy is hard. Delayed development and constant treatment affect mental, physical, and financial health.
It is important to seek help during the initial days of the diagnosis to figure out the best course of action. With a well-informed community on your back, you can provide the best possible care to your child.