Parental Tips for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Raising a child with Cerebral Palsy (CP) is not an easy job for parents. Many parents are completely taken by surprise at their child’s diagnosis and are not prepared to raise a child with a severe brain disorder. Thankfully, there are things that parents can do to make their job a little easier, while also providing the very best care for their disabled child.

1) Educate yourself.
The first step in helping your child with CP is to learn as much as you can about the condition. Many parents are relieved to find that others have experienced the same challenges they face. By getting some solid answers, you can know what to prepare for, what the future holds, and how to help your child live a fulfilling life. Doctors, nurses, and other people in your community are available to help answer your questions.

2) Advocate for yourself.
Recognize that no one else is going to provide all of the resources you and your child need. At school, home, or even in the community, you will need to be assertive in order to find the help that you and your child need. Don’t get discouraged as you look for help. Remember that others have experienced the same problems and successfully found solutions. When you are faced with a challenge, keep reaching out for help and you will eventually find the answers you need.

3) Take care of yourself.
As the parent of a child with a disability, you will face some extra challenges. That’s why it’s important to take time to be with people who support and encourage you. Spend time with your spouse and don’t be afraid to be completely honest about how your feelings are being affected. Get plenty of rest and take time to exercise and pursue hobbies and activities that are relaxing. You will be a better caregiver when you take care of yourself.

4) Don’t limit your child.
While there will certainly be challenges, allow your child to be all that he or she can be. If your child is willing to take on a new hobby or activity that is not physically harmful, allow him or her to try it while you provided the encouragement. While it’s easy for parents to feel protective, you want your child to live up to his or her full potential in spite of physical limitations.

Taking care of your child with CP will be challenging. However, by empowering yourself with knowledge, taking care of yourself, advocating, and allowing your child to accept new challenges, you will find it easier to make it through the difficult days. With a strong network of supportive people, you can be the very best parent for your disabled child.

Resources:
http://motorgrowth.canchild.ca/en/Research/resources/ASQMEmajor_advicefinaltipsheetjan112010final.pdf
http://specialchildren.about.com/u/ua/youradviceneeded/yourcpadvice.htm