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How to Parent Children with Cerebral Palsy

by Tiffany Raiford

A healthy child is every parent's wish, but not all parents find that this particular wish is granted. Cerebral palsy affects your child’s motor skills, movements and even muscle tone. It’s a disorder that is most commonly caused by some form of brain damage your child suffers either during childbirth, in the womb or during the first few years of life, though not usually more than the first five years. There is no cure for cerebral palsy, which means that parenting a child with the disorder comes with far more challenges than parenting many other children.

Start treatment therapy as soon as possible. Once your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, it is important that you begin a treatment and therapy plan right away, according to My Child at cerebralpalsy.org, a site designed to inform parents and caregivers about raising a child with cerebral palsy. The earlier you start the treatment and therapy process, the better the outcome of your child’s treatment and experience.

Allow your child to be as independent as possible, advises caringchild.org, a site designed to support and provide information to families raising a child with cerebral palsy. Since cerebral palsy varies from child to child, your child may not suffer from it with the same level of intensity as another child or she may have a more severe form than other children. This means that your child may not be as independent as you or she may like, but allowing her to be as independent as possible helps raise her confidence level and improve her motor skills, even if it takes her much longer to do one simple task than it takes you to do it on her behalf.

Learn as much as you can about cerebral palsy, advises My Child at cerebralpalsy.org. There are a number of complications that could occur to your child as a result of his cerebral palsy, and knowing what those potential complications are can help minimize the potential effects of said complications. These complications can range from the inability to chew and swallow food as well as other children, which can result in choking, to vision problems later in life. Knowing what to expect can help you and your child live a more comfortable and peaceful life.

Seek support from other parents raising children with cerebral palsy, advises caringchild.org. Your friends and family are a solid source of support, but the fact that their children do not have cerebral palsy means that they may not be able to provide you with the type of support you may need. Parents in the same position can offer advice, a comforting ear or just an understanding nod that may help you to remember that you are not alone in this journey.

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