Raising a Child with Cerebral Palsy
There is no one-size-fits-all piece of advice on how to raise children with cerebral palsy. Parents and caregivers of children with CP can expect to take on numerous, unique responsibilities that may last for a child’s lifetime. Raising a disabled child takes time, effort, empathy, and patience.
Staying organized helps reduce the stress of caregiving. Organization is all about being ready for the road ahead. Not only does keeping everything in order make life less stressful on the parent or caregiver, it gives them a realistic vision of what to expect in the future. Lists and calendars are essential tools for the organized parent or caregiver.
Some things every parent and caregiver needs to keep listed include:
- Doctors’ phone numbers
- Medical records
- School contact information
- Emergency contacts
- Phone numbers of babysitters
- Imaging and lab test results
Learning About Cerebral Palsy
Parents should learn everything they can about cerebral palsy. They need to know how it affects movement, its underlying causes, how it’s treated and how children with the condition develop differently from non-disabled children. In addition to learning the basics, parents need to know the in’s and out’s of their child’s specific condition. No two children with cerebral palsy are exactly alike when it comes to their movement issues and other disabilities.
Learning about cerebral palsy and how it affects children can make a parent a more understanding caregiver.
Understanding the how’s and why’s of the condition makes it easier for parents to imagine what life is like for their child. Cerebral Palsy Guide covers all the basics of CP that parents of a recently diagnosed child should know.
Taking Care of the Caregiver
All too often, parents get so wrapped up in raising their child that they forget to care of themselves. The emotional and financial strains that come with cerebral palsy can be a lot to handle, and it’s important for parents to address and prevent these burdens up front. Here are some tips for new parents who are raising a child with cerebral palsy:
- Eat healthy. This is a fairly straightforward tip: a healthy caregiver is a better caregiver. Staying healthy means more energy and less stress. Those who eat healthy are better at handling the obstacles that come their way.
- Get plenty of rest. Many parents don’t get enough sleep, and this can seriously affect their personal relationships and emotional well-being. Staying well-rested, like eating healthy, is one of the best ways to keep stress at a minimum.
- Take time to relax. Everyone needs time to themselves, so they can unwind and get back in the right frame of mind. Parents are more effective caregivers when they give themselves some time off, even if it’s for a couple of hours on the weekend. A frustrated caregiver isn’t as adept at coordinating daily tasks.
- Ask for help. It can feel nearly impossible to find enough time to get a full night’s sleep, much less take time off. It’s essential that parents ask for help when there is too much on their plate. If you don’t have enough time to rest, it’s probably time to ask for a little help.
- Let out frustration. Bottling up any anxiety, anger or depression is a surefire way for parents to put themselves in a state of continual exhaustion. Caregivers need to have someone to talk to, whether it’s a friend or a counselor. If they do, they’ll feel more at ease and less anxious about caring for their child.
Taking Advantage of Resources
There is a multitude of free resources available for parents who have a child with cerebral palsy. These resources include government programs, financial assistance and early intervention programs that provide free treatment for children with cerebral palsy who aren’t in school yet. There are also numerous support communities where parents can talk to people who have gone through what they are experiencing.
To learn more about the support options that Cerebral Palsy Guide can offer you and your family, try downloading our free Cerebral Palsy Guide. This guide includes over 60 pages of in-depth information for children and parents of a child with CP.