What to Know If Your Child Was Just Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy

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As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your child with cerebral palsy navigate the challenges they may face. 

If you want to find out more about the condition, take a look at this guide. Here, we look at what CP is and how you can care for your child. 

What is cerebral palsy? 

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term used to describe a group of neurological conditions that affect a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is a lifelong condition that often manifests in early childhood, and it can often be caused during pregnancy or during a difficult birth. Those with cerebral palsy require long-term support and care. 

The Types of Cerebral Palsy 

There are three main types of cerebral palsy, each with its unique characteristics and challenges:

Spastic Cerebral Palsy

This is the most common type, characterized by muscle stiffness and impaired movement.

Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

Children with dyskinetic CP experience involuntary, writhing movements and difficulty controlling their limbs.

Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

This type affects balance and coordination, making tasks like walking and writing challenging.

There are other types that you may become aware of. Hypotonic cerebral palsy results in low muscle tone, leading to weak muscles and mobility difficulties. There’s also mixed cerebral palsy, where some children may have a combination of two or more types, presenting a mix of symptoms.

Understanding your child's specific CP type will help tailor your support and interventions to their needs.

Cerebral Palsy Treatments

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but treatments, therapies, and mobility aids such as AFOs, rollators, and wheelchairs can help your child be more independent.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a vital role in managing cerebral palsy. Regular exercise and therapy sessions can improve motor skills and prevent further deterioration. Consult with a pediatric physical therapist who specializes in CP to create a personalized exercise plan for your child. Encourage consistent home exercises to complement professional therapy sessions. The aim is not only to enhance physical abilities, but to boost your child's confidence and independence.

Tips for Supporting Your Child with Cerebral Palsy

Compensation Considerations

While it's difficult to think about, if your child's cerebral palsy resulted from improper medical care during birth or infancy, you may be eligible for compensation. Consult with a legal professional experienced in maternity negligence and medical malpractice to explore your options. Compensation can help ease the financial burden of providing additional support and resources for your child's needs.

Advocate for Your Child

Being your child's biggest advocate is crucial for their wellbeing. Whether it's ensuring they receive the right medical care, therapy, or accommodations within school and social settings, your involvement can make a significant difference. Here are some tips:

  • Educate yourself: Learn as much as you can about CP, its treatments, and available resources to make informed decisions.
  • Collaborate with healthcare providers: Develop a strong partnership with your child's medical team, therapists, and educators. Open communication ensures everyone is working together for your child's benefit.
  • Understand your child's rights: Familiarize yourself with your child's legal rights to advocate for appropriate support.
  • Encourage social connections: Help your child to interact with peers and participate in activities that promote social development. Give them opportunities to build a network of supportive friends and mentors.

Supporting a child with cerebral palsy requires patience, dedication, and a collaborative approach. You can empower your child to thrive and overcome the challenges posed by cerebral palsy while providing a loving and supportive environment.

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I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds. 

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