Cerebral palsy comes with many challenges, and as a parent whose child has the condition, it’s important to take each day as it comes and educate yourself as much as possible on the subject. There will be plenty of learning opportunities that will come out of your experience, each one making you stronger and more determined than ever. Although there will be ups and downs, there is no reason why a person with cerebral palsy can’t have a happy, enriched life with plenty of opportunities. Below are a few basic tips on how you can help your child if they have recently been diagnosed with the condition.
Making sure your kids are consuming a nutritious diet is always an important job for parents. They need all the right vitamins and minerals to grow into strong, healthy adults and reduce the risk of health issues later in life. While this is something you might already be focused on at home as a parent, if your child has cerebral palsy make sure they are consuming plenty of foods that help with muscle and bone strength, such as calcium-rich dairy products, nuts, leafy greens, and soya beans. If your child struggles with swallowing as a result of their condition, you can purchase food thickening products such as Simply Thick to make this easier for them.
Your child will need to have specialist physiotherapy to help keep their muscles strong, and they might also need to have speech therapy if this is affected by their condition as well. At home, you must continue to do their exercises with them, so they are continuously making progress. This might be difficult at times, especially if they are tired of the exercises that are uncomfortable or painful. While it’s important to be patient with them, encouraging them to keep it up and making sure this is done at home is essential to helping them in the long-term. If your child appears to be struggling with depression or low self-esteem because they have cerebral palsy, consider taking them to see a counselor to help them learn coping mechanisms and hopefully boost their morale.
Although some days will be tough, it’s important to remain positive about your child’s condition, especially if they might be struggling mentally themselves. Make sure you’re encouraging them to pursue interests and ambitions for the future, and remind them of all the opportunities that are available to them, even if they might not be able to do all of the things that their siblings or other kids can.
While focusing on the well-being of your child is essential, don’t forget to look after yourself as well. Take time to practice some self-care at home, whether it’s taking a long, relaxing bath or cooking yourself something nice for dinner. Reach out for support from your family and friends, and join groups for parents of children with cerebral palsy. Speaking to people who are going through the same thing as you will help give you peace of mind and make you realize that you’re not alone.
Being a parent is challenging at the best of times, but if your child has a condition like cerebral palsy, it can be even more cause for concern. Use these tips to help give your child the right support, and to take care of yourself.