Cerebral palsy (CP) is the name for several disorders caused by brain damage, brain development issues, and sometimes, medical negligence. It’s a permanent disorder that doesn’t progress but also doesn’t get any better.
Once you find out your child has cerebral palsy, which can take several years, a whole life plan must be developed. Your child now has complex needs, considering this disorder can affect movement, muscles, intellectual abilities, posture, and senses. It can be difficult to know what to expect if your child has cerebral palsy, but there are a few things you can do to prepare for a new life with this condition.
Establish the Cause
There is no single cause for this disorder. Between 85% and 90% of CP cases are congenital, which means they are related to brain damage before or during birth. In some of these cases, the cause isn’t known. CP can also be caused by infection, injury, and cerebrovascular accidents. If you believe an obstetrician or another medical professional played a part in your child’s disorder, it can be worth finding out what your legal options are. You may be able to seek compensation to assist in covering the costs of having a child with this life-long condition.
Be Prepared for Mobility Changes
The mobility limitations of any child with cerebral palsy can be varied. Several medical professionals can weigh in to determine their likely mobility restrictions in the future and at each stage of their life. To minimize limitations, your healthcare team may recommend using assistive equipment like wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. As limiting as this disorder is, it’s not always a barrier to your child achieving their goals.
Not all children with CP will encounter communication problems, but some will. Having a plan of attack for communication can ensure your child feels heard. Minor speech complications may be corrected with a licensed speech pathologist. However, children with significant speech deficits may be able to use communication boards, tablets, and dedicated speech technology.
Focus On Healthy Eating
We all know the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but having a child with CP can bring it to the forefront of your mind. Children with cerebral palsy require a high-quality diet with plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables. Changing your family’s diet to cater to their needs can make dinner time far less stressful. It’s worth knowing that some children with CP need help with eating and drinking. Specially-prepared meals can be important for making sure your child can consume foods safely.
Combine Exercise With Play
Just as exercise is essential for everyday health, it’s also necessary for children with CP. Children learn through play, and exercise can be crucial for their development and growth. A physical therapist can help you establish the best play activities for their unique physical and mental needs. Activities like throwing a ball back and forth, playing with sand, and swinging on a custom-made swing set can all be valid options.
When your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, your life can change. However, with a few healthy lifestyle adjustments and legal advice, you can put yourself in the best position to manage their needs.