If your child has recently been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed. You probably have many questions running through your mind – and may be wondering how to successfully parent your child with this condition.
Raising a child with cerebral palsy can be challenging and rewarding. You may find yourself facing unique situations that require patience, flexibility and compassion. Take a deep breath. There are steps you can take to prepare for this journey:
- Learn about cerebral palsy. You should learn as much as you can about this disorder – including its causes, treatments and how it affects behavior and movement. No two cases are alike, so this may also involve paying special attention to your child each day. You should share what you learn with the vital people in your child’s life – such as family members, friends and caregivers.
- Prepare to handle behavioral issues. Research has shown the kids with cerebral palsy tend to have behavioral problems. This may be due to frustrations about their physical limitations or speech disabilities. You can teach your child relaxation methods, such as deep breathing, or find activities that serve as an outlet for their frustration. A therapist could also help.
- Practice consistency. Structure is important, so you should be consistent with both your praise and discipline. You can encourage good behavior by using a reward system. You should also ensure there are consistent consequences when your child misbehaves.
- Develop relationships with educators. When your child enters school, you should strive to have an open relationship with their teacher. It’s important that teachers know the ins and outs of your child’s condition and create a supportive environment. They can also make sure that any unique needs your child may have are met.
While it’s hard to hear that your child has cerebral palsy, remember that they can still lead a full and happy life. And by following these tips, you can help them do just that.