5 Tips for Parents: What to Do After a Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis

3 min read

Parent with their child with cerebral palsy

A cerebral palsy (CP) diagnosis can feel overwhelming and emotional. Panic, fear, and anger may be common reactions, especially if your child’s disability was caused by medical negligence.

How you as a parent navigate a new diagnosis can greatly benefit your child later on. For example, seeking counseling and community can help you and your child gain confidence despite their disability and help you feel more hopeful for the future.

The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. Whether you need help exploring financial assistance or finding caregiver resources, we are here for you.

The team at Cerebral Palsy Guide has compiled 5 tips for parents to help navigate any uncertainties after a CP diagnosis.

Rather talk to a real person? Contact our Patient Advocates right now by calling (855) 220-1101.

1. Educate Your Family About Cerebral Palsy

The first step is to help your family understand your child’s diagnosis and health outlook. There are a number of resources that can help caregivers, family members, and the child with CP to learn about the diagnosis.

Some educational starting points may include:

  • Helping your family understand what CP is
  • Learning what having CP may mean for your child now and in the future
  • Offering helpful tips for supporting your child and becoming a CP family
  • Understanding how the CP diagnosis will change your child’s life trajectory

Including the whole family in this discussion can help ease your responsibilities as their primary caretaker. It can also help your child feel more understood and supported by extended family and friends.

2. Explore Therapy Options

Children with CP may need various forms of therapy immediately after their diagnosis and into the future.

CP affects muscles, so getting treatment early on can be crucial for your child’s long-term movement abilities.

Some therapies your child with CP may need include:

It may also be important to consider finding mental health support for you and your child. These can be in-person or online and done in group settings or one-on-one.

These supportive networks allow you to work through complex emotions in safe environments while connecting you to additional caregiver resources.

3. Connect With a Trusted CP Doctor

It’s important to work with CP specialists throughout your child’s development to help determine what types of specialized care your child needs.

A trusted CP doctor can recommend additional treatments. They will also have knowledge of emerging therapies or assistive devices for children with cerebral palsy.

Finding a CP specialist your child feels comfortable and safe with is important. Since your child may need ongoing care, you’ll want to find the right fit.

You should also trust the pediatrician your child sees, as they can help to recognize and treat any coexisting conditions, like ADHD or autism.

Between therapy, doctor appointments, and caregiving help, the cost of your child’s care can be overwhelming. Cerebral Palsy Guide may be able to help you get financial aid.

Get the help you need.

Find out how we can help you cover the cost of your child’s treatment.

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4. Embrace Your Child’s Abilities

You and your child may not be able to engage in the activities you envisioned due to mobility limitations the condition sometimes involves. However, children with CP can do many things with the right support and encouragement.

Encourage your child to realize their dreams without putting limits on their hopes. This can help your child to reach for both realistic and hard-fought goals to live their best life.

5. Communicate and Advocate

Perhaps one of the hardest things about being a parent of a child with CP is that it can feel isolating.

Primary caregivers can sometimes feel cut off from the outside world or even family. Children with CP may feel frustrated, isolated, misunderstood, and at times helpless.

It’s important to keep an open line of communication with family, friends, and your child’s educators and doctors. This can allow your child to communicate their own needs, or when they are unable, allow you to advocate on their behalf.

Create a safe environment to discuss how you’re feeling, and be sure to seek professional help in the form of mental health counseling if you need additional support.

Find Support for Your Child With Cerebral Palsy

One thing is for certain: you can’t make it through the caregiving journey alone. The CP community is a vast one. From nonprofits and health care teams, there are many resources available to encourage families faced with a new diagnosis.

If your child has been newly diagnosed with CP after medical negligence, you may also be eligible for financial assistance for treatment and therapies by pursuing a cerebral palsy lawsuit. The average payout for a birth injury case is $1 million — a life-changing amount for families.

Find the CP resources and support you need for your child’s long-term well-being by contacting Cerebral Palsy Guide today.

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, May 2). What is cerebral palsy? Retrieved August 1, 2023, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/facts.html
  2. Cerebral Palsy Foundation. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved August 1, 2023, from https://www.yourcpf.org/people-and-partners/
  3. Cerebral Palsy Research Network. (n.d.). About us. Retrieved August 1, 2023, from https://cprn.org/about-us/
  4. United Cerebral Palsy. (n.d.). Our history. Retrieved August 1, 2023, from https://ucp.org/our-history/