Cerebral palsy is one of the most common genetic disabilities found in children. It consists of a group of disorders that affect the child before birth and result in the loss of movement and inability to maintain posture. Along with physical impairment, this condition also significantly loses a child’s cognitive skills and mental function.
As of today, there are limited studies that point out the cause of this disability. However, the prevalence of cerebral palsy in certain age groups has made it evident based on congenital factors. Furthermore, because there is no known treatment for this illness, parents (children with CP) must choose other acceptable methods to improve the child’s quality of life. And help the child adapt to their lifestyles. Here are some steps to do just that.
As a responsible parent, you want to ensure that you make the best decisions for your child. Whether enrolling them in physiotherapy or sending them for mental health counseling, you must do the necessary research to make well-informed choices. Conducting adequate research will not only ensure better management of your child’s health but also promotes better management of your own time too. To do this effectively, you should learn more about this condition by looking up different blogs or health forums on the internet. You can also ask medical experts or interact with parents whose children are also diagnosed with CP.
Ensure physical fitness
CP comes with several muscle restraining symptoms. The child might have pain or spasmodic contractions in their limbs which lead to limited movement. Parents should talk to health advisors or physiotherapists and ask about the right kinds of exercise incorporated into the child’s routine to combat this. While this will not fix the contractions entirely, it has reduced painful spasms and improved overall physical fitness.
Encourage healthy eating habits
Children with CP are more likely to have poor nutrition because their condition leads them to develop weakness in the jaw muscles and diseases like GERD. It may also be difficult for them to communicate their nutritional needs. Therefore, parents must provide their children with a nutritious diet. A good diet improves the symptoms of CP, but it can also elevate the child’s mood. It is necessary to provide good sources of calcium, like milk and cheese, and phosphorus-rich foods like meat, fish, and eggs. Talk to your dietician to obtain a specific calorie chart for your child. Moreover, if your child has issues with chewing and swallowing, consider mashing the food or using a feeding tube.
Provide adequate therapy and counseling
Since children with CP have many limitations that a healthy child does not, it is easy to feel discouraged or demotivated in social settings such as schools or playgrounds. The child may feel incompetent and may compare themselves with their peers, resulting in mental health disorders like anxiety or depression. Therefore, a licensed professional must get hired to help them healthily combat these feelings. It will also help the children adopt a more positive attitude towards life.
Realize the importance of family time
It is a well-known fact that children who tend to spend more time with their families are more likely to have a positive sense of self-worth. Likewise, this is no different for children that are mentally/physically challenged. As a parent, you should make it your duty to give your child 1-2 hours of quality time every day. It can be difficult considering the hassles of work and home. Still, it is an excellent idea to strengthen your bond and encourage positive behaviors in the child. Some good suggestions would be to go to the park, make finger paintings or go to the cinema.
Keep your health in check
Being a parent of children with special needs means that you’ll offer relentless hours to ensure their well-being. Parents always want the optimal comfort of their children. For that, they’ll be ready to sacrifice their mental well-being. While providing good care for the child is essential, you must also understand that you can only perform the best at this role if you take proper care of yourself. A simple way to approach this is by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, or making time for yourself. You can also book a spa appointment or get a massage once a week.
To conclude, the caretaker of children with CP can be overwhelming for parents if not done correctly. While there are many resources you can consult for help, it can still be burdening, especially for parents that are just starting. If things get out of control, do not hesitate to contact a professional consultant or your designated healthcare advisor. And remember that although children with special needs require more care and attention, they are no less human beings. They, too, deserve the same amount of love and compassion that a normal child deserves.