How Do You Manage a Child with Cerebral Palsy?
A cerebral palsy diagnosis is a shock to the entire family, particularly parents, guardians, and others who are the primary caretakers of the child. Caring for a child with CP will not be easy, but there are some helpful strategies you can employ as you navigate parenting your child with CP.
What Does Caring for a Child With CP Entail?
The care and management that parents need to provide to a child with cerebral palsy will be all-encompassing.
There are, logistically, various doctor’s, therapy, and treatment appointments to make, along with medication to administer and monitor. Maintaining comprehensive medical records is very important. There are specific resources to access and stay on top of at school, along with more record-keeping to do. Feeding, speech, behavior, vision, and hearing may all be affected in various ways, leading to the necessity of figuring out how to best care for your child.
No two children—nor their families—are affected by CP in the same way, so it’s important to administer the care and management that’s specific to your child. Work with your child’s medical team to build a sound plan for your child and your family to maintain.
What Are Some Strategies For Managing The Day-to-Day Routine of a Child With CP?
There are many tactics parents use to help their children with CP live the happiest, most fulfilling lives possible. These include:
- Stay informed about CP, treatments, and therapies. Being educated and keeping up-to-date on new ways to improve your child’s lifestyle is important, particularly as researchers continue to keep studying new treatments and therapy methods.
- Stay organized. Medical and therapy appointments, medications, medical, and school records, as well as any correspondence regarding your child’s illness will need to be kept.
- Continue therapy at home. By learning some of the proper ways to help your child exercise, you can help stretch muscles and maintain muscle tone in-between therapy appointments. At-home therapy can also help with pain management, building balance, and working on various functions.
- Promote an active lifestyle. It’s important for children with CP to exercise, and stay active as much as feasible. Staying active can also teach important new skills. Play together and engage in activities that provide you both some fun.
- Line up help, and take advantage of resources. There are national and local support groups for parents to help manage a child with cerebral palsy—seek help from them, as well as from your own support network.
- Maintain patience and stay compassionate towards both your child and yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Caring for a child with CP can be overwhelming, and it is important that parents receive the self-care they need to keep going.
What Challenges Can You Anticipate, and What are Some Solutions?
Caring for a child with cerebral palsy will be challenging. Some of those challenges are due to the logistical and financial obligations in managing CP and related conditions, some of which require significant time, energy, and other resources. Others involve school and socialization, sometimes leading parents to enroll their children in special schools or programs.
A unique challenge may arise in others’ understanding—or lack thereof—about the ins and outs of CP. Some people may assume that a child with CP has a mental impairment, even when this isn’t the case. Others may not understand the child’s special needs, developmental delays, difficulties, or behavioral issues. Those social pressures can cause the whole family to experience stress, anxiety, and mental health issues.
It is essential that you get the help you need in caring for your child, your family—and yourself. Talk to your child’s doctor about various resources that are available to you and your family, and connect with others who understand what you are going through. Consider engaging an advocate to help you navigate educational and other resources that could aid your family. Seek out early intervention, and work with specialists to craft a plan that reflects your child’s unique needs and abilities.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Medical Negligence or Malpractice Led to Your Child’s CP Diagnosis?
If you think the difficulties related to your child’s birth could have been prevented or mitigated by competent medical care, you may have a valid claim for medical malpractice against the practitioner and hospital. You should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal rights and options.
The Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs have over 40 years of experience with medical malpractice cases. JJS has a nationally recognized track record of successful verdicts that demonstrate our commitment to working for justice and fair compensation.
Our aim is to achieve justice and compensation for victims of birth injury medical malpractice. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case and understand your rights. There are no fees unless your case is won.
Claire Surles, RN
Claire comes to JJS after a 10-year career as a labor and delivery nurse. She dedicated her hospital efforts to advocating for families, providing the safest birthing environment possible as Newborn Admission Nurse at UMMC St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Maryland. Her passion for helping those who experienced losses at any stage of gestation led to her appointment as Coordinator of the hospital’s ROOTS perinatal loss program. READ FULL BIO