Parents who have a child with cerebral palsy (CP) have to stay calm, be more understanding, and make many efforts to manage their growing physical and emotional needs. It can be particularly tough for parents when their newborn baby is diagnosed with this disorder.
Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that affects the body’s movement, balance, and posture. It relates to the abnormality of having control over the muscles resulting from abnormal brain growth or any damage to the developing brain during pregnancy and childbirth. The symptoms associated with CP may vary from one individual to another. People with severe CP require unique gadgets to walk, or they can’t walk at all, rendering them on lifelong dependency and care. On the other hand, people with a milder version of the condition can walk with some trouble but without any additional help.
Fortunately, CP is not known to worsen with time or age. However, the associated symptoms can modify over an individual’s lifetime. Every person with CP has similarities in movement and posture abnormality. However, many experience seizures or show signs of intellectual disability, scoliosis, contractures, speech, vision, or hearing issues. That said, listed below are some care tips for you to help your child as they grow older.
To start caring for your child early on, you should organize yourself as much as possible. This process involves keeping your surroundings to prevent your kid from incurring any injury as they try to navigate around your living space. In addition, organize your lists and calendars with important information and dates, doctor’s phone numbers, child’s medical records, laboratory tests, medical history, etc.
Stay informed on your child’s health
Children with CP visit multiple healthcare professionals, including their pediatrician, specialist, therapist, and others. Doctors maintain their patients’ medical records, but it is crucial that you also stay informed on your child’s health. Some instances require you to make decisions that affect your child in the long run. Your doctor might ask you if you are okay with your child receiving different treatments. With proper knowledge, you’ll be able to make better-informed decisions. Being actively involved improved the overall process of care delivery.
Encourage an active lifestyle
Indeed, a child with CP can’t play or be as active as other kids are, but it doesn’t mean they like an inactive lifestyle. You can help them walk and arrange activities that involve movement to help them keep their muscles active and stay fit. Through these activities, your child’s muscles become stronger and will prevent muscle spasms and joint problems. Staying active is advantageous for you and your child, making you feel good about improving their health. It also helps to boost their self-esteem and prevents them from feeling left out.
Be your child’s therapist
You cannot replace clinical therapy, but performing the same role at home can have a considerable impact on your child’s health. Parents can help their children to exercise to make the muscles strong and improve their balance. By doing so, you can reduce their hectic therapist visits. However, if you find it difficult to visit the physical therapy center, ask your medical team to provide home services. Some children suffer from severe muscle spasms that need a gentle massage to soothe them. If your child also experiences muscle spasms, you should learn how to perform essential massage therapy for your child and help ease their pain.
Help them stay positive
Unfortunately, a child with cerebral palsy has certain limitations. They can’t play like other children or have more doctor’s visits than others. Such things make it hard for them to stay positive. When your child starts concentrating on the activities they can’t perform, help them see what they can do. Do these activities with your child and keep them as happy as you can. Encouragement and positive reinforcement can help keep negative thoughts and depression at bay.
Get the available resources
It isn’t easy to care for a child with CP, but you can use different available resources to ease that job. Some of them are entirely free. Look for government programs, financial assistance programs, and early intervention programs for treating your child with cerebral palsy free of cost. You can also join support groups to share your experiences and thoughts with other parents in a similar situation. Getting all the help you need can enable you to take better care of your child as they grow older. To better understand the condition, read up a detailed overview of cerebral palsy and begin preparing yourself.
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy can be overwhelming. However, with some adjustments and tips, you can make the process more manageable for yourself and your kid. You need to be organized at all times to avoid delays in case of an emergency. The doctors and other healthcare providers help your child with every possible treatment. Still, your contribution as a parent can play a unique role in your child’s health improvements. Avail all the resources you can to provide your child with better treatment for improved quality of life.