Cerebral palsy covers a range of neurological conditions that affect movement and the co-ordination of an individual. It occurs when certain parts of the brain are damaged, either before, during or after birth, the symptoms of which generally become more noticeable as a child grows.
The severity of cerebral palsy can depend on the amount of damage and which parts of the body it effects. It can also involve problems such as seizures and issues with drooling, as well as learning difficulties and an impairment in being able to communicate, though intelligence is generally not affected.
Having to care for a child who has cerebral palsy can be a life changing and challenging experience for any new parents. There is no cure although there are various treatments such as physiotherapy and medication to help cope with the symptoms. It isn’t a progressive condition though and it shouldn’t get worse as the child grows older but there may be stresses and strains on the body that can cause issues later on.
Living with a Child with Cerebral Palsy
While a positive and proactive outlook can help when coping with a child who has cerebral palsy, there’s no doubt that the initial diagnosis can come as a major shock to family members and mum and dad in particular. There may be feelings of guilt, anger and even moments of depression as you try to come to terms with the situation. All these are perfectly natural and your individual way of coping with the situation. The good news is that there is plenty of support, help and guidance out there so you don’t need to feel isolated.
There are a number of things you can do in the first instance:
Learning How to Care for a Child with Cerebral Palsy
A child with cerebral palsy will have strengths as well as weaknesses. They have their own potential and helping them realise this is one of the major parts of learning how to care for child with cerebral palsy. That’s why your support network is very important. You will also have access to professionals such as occupational, speech and physical therapists who will be able to help with medical issues.
As most parents who care for a child who has cerebral palsy will say, life is not without its challenges. There is often a steep learning curve but not an insurmountable one. There will be challenges along the way but with the right support and help from those around you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to cope and thrive.