Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in childhood. It is estimated that nearly 4 per 1,000 live births or 1,000 children suffer from this disability.
CP is a medical condition that impacts muscle tone, movement, and coordination and is caused by the brain’s inability to send proper prompts to muscles on how to proceed in a coordinated manner. For instance, functions such as breathing, having control over bowel and bladder movements, food intake, and speaking will be challenging for the child. Other problems that are caused by CP are seizures, difficulty in hearing, problems with vision, abnormal eye movements, and abnormal touch or pain sensations.
The exact causes of CP can’t always be pinned down, but it commonly happens when a child’s mind is still developing, such as when they are still in the womb or during their infancy. It might occur due to various reasons such as infections, genetic disorders, bleeding into the brain, lack of oxygen when in the mother’s womb, fetal stroke, untreated jaundice, traumatic head injury, and medical negligence.
In cases where the hospital staff does not meet the standard of care expected, they can be held accountable. If you have been a victim of medical negligence, click here to find an attorney who will help you file a legal case against negligent medical care provider.
Children who have cerebral palsy have special needs. While your child’s doctors or therapists might handle most of their treatment, there are several ways parents can help their child to live a good life with cerebral palsy.
- Helping them stay physically active
Children with CP might not be able to play sports at the same level as others their age, but it is vital to get them to move as much as possible.
Their movement exercises don’t need to be dull or just limited to walking. If possible, they should be taught to play different sports to work their muscles. It allows them to learn new skills and use their muscles effectively. The more their muscles are active and strengthened, the less they are likely to suffer from muscle spasms.
Another way to help a child with CP is to work their muscles and have fun at the same time by encouraging them to dance. Even with limited mobility, it will allow them to engage in some sort of movement that will benefit them.
Similarly, engaging in yoga with your child also allows you to bond with your child and help them stay active and healthy.
- Focusing on their diet
Children with cerebral palsy have a higher risk of undernourishment due to possible oral motor impairments and digestion problems. Hence, nutritional needs will vary amongst individuals with cerebral palsy, making it essential to ask a doctor or dietitian what kind of food should be given to the child to meet the necessary nutritional needs.
In addition, ask the dietitian to chart out a good diet plan for your child.
The recommended food or diet by the doctor will help strengthen the bones and muscles and maintain the nutritional needs of the child. But, if a child suffering from CP remains severely malnourished, the doctor may prescribe medicine or vitamins to help maintain the body.
- Let them experience life
Even if your child is suffering from CP, their home and the hospital shouldn’t be the only world they know.
There are several ways to help a child develop their mind and open their eyes to the different facets of the world beyond what they are accustomed to. It could include taking them to the museums, and the park, working on art projects with them, listening to music, and working on puzzles.
Engaging your child in these activities is vital to let them experience this beautiful world. These experiences help them learn new skills, think about problems from different angles, and maintain their self-esteem.
- Expanding Your Support Bubble
When a child is suffering from CP, they require a lot of attention at home and constant visits to the hospital or the therapist’s office. It can be an overwhelming experience for the parents.
There is constant mental, emotional and physical stress weighing these parents down. They can only make it through these visits without letting the stress engulf them by taking the support from family or friends.
Another way to expand your support bubble is by interacting with the parents of children who suffer from CP. These interactions allow you to build trust and friendship with people facing the same ordeal as you.
Creating a network like this is beneficial on a practical level as well. Different parents would come with different experiences allowing them to recommend new doctors or offer advice on different situations.
For children who have cerebral palsy, their parents need to participate in their treatment and care. CP isn’t the same for every child; there are several precautionary measures to be adopted by parents to ensure that their child remains fit and healthy despite the disability. It includes helping the child stay mentally and physically fit by doing mild exercises and communicating with the medical team to ensure that the child is getting proper treatment and medication. In addition, make a diet plan with the help of a dietician and build a support system for you and your child.
Hope this article is of great help to you.