Tips for parents and family members
Learn about the condition. Being informed can help you understand how best to help your child. Local or national cerebral palsy organizations can help, especially in dealing with the impact of daily emotional and lifestyle issues. Talk with your doctor or call your local hospital for suggestions. For more information, see the Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
Learn about your child’s educational rights. Laws in the United States give children with special needs access to free public school services and some free treatments. These educational rights also include protection of the parents’ rights to be fully informed about or disagree with educational decisions concerning their child. Contact your state and local education departments for specific information about these accommodations. Also, vocational training may benefit some teens and young adults.
Work with teachers and school officials. Work with your child’s teachers, school administrators, special learning consultants, and school boards to develop the best educational plan for your child. A cooperative team approach helps your child realize his or her potential.
Provide emotional support. The needs of a child with CP change over time. As children grow and become more aware of their physical limitations, they need to be able to talk about their feelings and how they are treated. It is sometimes easier for them to talk with someone who isn’t a family member. Ask your doctor about whether emotional counseling would benefit your child. Also, include your child when making decisions about his or her health care.
Take care of yourself. Get proper rest, eat well, exercise, and learn ways to cope with the challenges of raising a child with CP. You will be better equipped to help your child when you have physical energy and emotional strength.
Help each other. The entire family is affected when one member has CP. Helping family members cope with this situation is important, especially for siblings. You can help prevent other children from having unrealistic fears and concerns, feeling left out, or becoming overwhelmed.
You and your family and friends can help your child reach his or her highest potential. Focus on your child’s strengths. And build self-esteem by helping your child learn to do things by himself or herself.