Cerebral palsy is an inborn condition that makes a child unable to entirely control his motor function, specifically coordination and muscle control. It is neither communicable nor progressive. The term is usually used to refer to several chronic conditions that greatly affect bodily movements and overall muscle coordination. It has been found to be caused by damages to specific brain areas almost always during infancy or fatal development. In many cases, cerebral palsy could be diagnosed and observed before, during or immediately/ shortly after birth of a baby.
Unfortunately, up until this time, cerebral palsy is incurable. However, there are available therapies, medications, and applied technologies that could help patients still go on to live highly productive lives. Everyone, especially the family of patients, should readily understand that cerebral palsy is not an illness or a disease. It is a condition. It afflicts people by chance, though several known causes are identified that might have affected pregnant moms. Because it is not a disease, people should also understand and remember that cerebral palsy could not in any way be transferred from one person to another. It could not also get worse over time.
Most importantly, children and other patients with cerebral palsy could still have a great chance to live almost normal lives. Cerebral palsy stays in a patient forever. But the family and friends of a patient could always make him feel accepted and loved. Thus, such patients need coping and support from caring people. It is not surprising that along the process, the immediate family gets more challenges in facing the reality and having to deal with the reality of living with a cerebral palsy patient in the house. There are special caring ways on how a family could make lives of patients still good and humane.
Be determined to foster the patient’s, or child’s, independence. It would be better if you would always encourage him to be independent. Teach him how to do even the simplest things. Make him understand and realize that he could still help himself. If he could not walk, you could teach him to use walkers, braces, and crutches so he still could get mobility he likes even without direct assistance of anyone. Also let the patient realize that it does not matter whether he does an activity faster or slower. The most important thing, he should learn, is that at least he could do activities even if it takes time.
Be your child’s advocate. All family members should take an important role in the patient’s health care team. When meeting the therapists, teachers, and physicians, do not be hesitant to ask important and practical questions. You should learn to be a part of your child’s every progress and aspect. You could also coordinate with the experts so you could learn more techniques in dealing with cerebral palsy patients. Open yourself to learning new skills and insights as you gear to take care of your child.
Find the necessary support. Do not let sadness, guilt, and grief take you over. Remember that if you would not be strong for your child, who would? There are many support groups, counseling services, and organizations for families of cerebral palsy patients. It would help if you would learn from others’ experiences or at least share sentiments with them.