Parenting any child is never easy, but children with special needs are more challenging than most. You love them just as much, but they require extra care and support, often for the entirety of their lives. Many parents don’t receive the right information or support, so in this article, we are going to discuss some parenting tips to help you if your child has cerebral palsy.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a type of brain damage. It can occur before or during birth. Around one in every 500 babies are born with cerebral palsy, so it is quite common. Children with cerebral palsy typically have problems with movement and posture. They usually require specialist orthotics to help them walk. This makes it harder for a child with cerebral palsy to participate in normal activities, such as playing soccer, riding a bike, or just running around in the park.
A Perceived Lack of Support
A CanChild study found that parents of a child with cerebral palsy don’t receive enough information. Many say the right information would have helped them do things differently. Parents often feel there are not enough support systems in place. They say that having a cerebral palsy child can affect the whole family, as they have less time to focus on siblings.
There are community programs, so it is important that you check what support services are available in your area. However, bear in mind that some parents find that their child doesn’t enjoy attending specialized community programs.
The internet is a godsend for parents of children with special needs. If you have internet access, you don’t need to feel isolated. There is always someone available to answer questions or provide a degree of emotional support. Use this to your advantage. Talk to other parents about your concerns. Ask for help and advice and share your own experiences in support groups and forums.
As previously stated, cerebral palsy children tend to need extra support with posture and movement. An orthotist will look at their anatomy and biomechanics once they are old enough and devise specialized orthotics to better align their posture and help them walk.
Ankle foot orthosis (AFO) supports the foot and ankle, ending below the knee. Knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO) stabilizes the knee joint. Helping your child adjust to orthotics can take time. If your child finds his orthotics uncomfortable, he might find AFO socks, AFO brace socks, or KAFO socks a big help. These specialist socks provide extra protection beneath orthotics and are extremely comfortable to wear.
Keep Your Child Active
Orthotics help a CP child stay as active as his peers. He might not be a pro athlete when he’s all grown up, but he can still take part in physical activities to the best of his ability. Active kids are healthier and happier, so it’s a win-win for you and your child.
There will be setbacks along the way, but enjoy spending time with your child and focus on maintaining a positive outlook on life. The sky is the limit!