The brain is an incredibly complex, powerful organ that has kept biologists and medical practitioners in awe over the ages. However, although it is a highly sophisticated organ, it is also an incredibly delicate one, and a minor trauma or changes can cause immense issues.
Several issues can come with brain injury, one of the most common being cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects the ability to move around and maintain posture and stability. It is a disorder that manifests in early childhood and can make it incredibly challenging for parents and children alike.
Child-rearing is already challenging enough, and dealing with a child with cerebral palsy can make this job even harder. Below, we’ll discuss some of the most common issues and fears parents and children with cerebral palsy experience.
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Parents can experience guilt.
One of the most common challenges parents face dealing with children with cerebral palsy is that they feel they may have somehow caused the disease. Handling a child with cerebral palsy is no easy task. Parents often face an uncertain future where their children may never experience independence or attain their full potential. All of these feelings can be incredibly challenging to manage and can give rise to immense guilt. However, these feelings are also rooted in an inaccurate understanding of the disease.
Cerebral palsy comes in many forms and doesn’t mean that your child will be wholly dependent on you their entire life. Some types of cerebral palsy include spastic cerebral palsy, which causes jerky, erratic movements, and stiffness. Ataxic palsy is another rarer form that causes balance problems, impaired vision, and poor coordination. Furthermore, there is also mixed type cerebral palsy, where the child can experience a mixture of symptoms. What’s important to note is that all types of cerebral palsy occur by brain damages before or during birth. When you learn more about this disorder, you can be better prepared to handle it and all the challenges that come with it.
Financial issues can be one of the most significant impediments for parents and children dealing with cerebral palsy. There are already a thousand things to consider when raising a neurotypical child. The list only gets longer when dealing with neuro-divergence. It is a long-term condition that requires long-term interventions to ensure a good quality of life. Furthermore, cerebral palsy often comes with a host of other impairments which can require costly interventions. Studies estimate that the per-person cost of dealing with cerebral palsy can reach up to $921,000.
Several costs can stack up when living with cerebral palsy. Parents may need to clear up funds to pay for special education, continued health services, assisted living, and developmental assistance. Furthermore, caretaking for a child with cerebral palsy is a full-time job, and many parents may need to leave their jobs to make more time for their child. It can further increase the financial impact, and without support services, it can get challenging to manage.
As discussed earlier, caring for a child with cerebral palsy is a full-time job that can take up most of the parent’s time. Parents can find themselves isolated from their peers raising neuro-typical children, as their experience is vastly different. Caregivers can quickly start to suffer from anxiety and depression owing to the challenges they face. Furthermore, they can have a more challenging time maintaining their social life. Taking care of their child can be super time-consuming. In such cases, having a reliable support system is of utmost importance. Having people to talk to and share your concerns can do wonders for families dealing with cerebral palsy.
Social isolation isn’t just limited to the parents, however. It can be incredibly challenging for children with cerebral palsy to connect with their peers as neuro-typical children. Playtime is a big part of socializing and forming bonds for young children. Kids with cerebral palsy can find it hard to engage in the same activities. Furthermore, playtime can help stimulate brain development and communication. Children with cerebral palsy can have a more challenging time in these areas.
Motor coordination is one of the most prominent challenges children with cerebral palsy face. However, the situation may worsen when they find themselves in a physical environment that does little to help them. Families with cerebral palsy can often find themselves limited even more by their surroundings. Lack of ramps, functioning lifts, sidewalks, and cramped spaces can increase the physical challenge posed by this disorder. All of these factors can also exclude families with cerebral palsy from many public areas.
Furthermore, parents of children with cerebral palsy often experience fatigue, aches, soreness, and tiredness from helping their children with much of their physical tasks. They can also experience sleeplessness and hypertension and need appropriate medical care to ensure that they can live a healthy life and help their child do so too.
Most parents dread to imagine their child being anything other than neuro-typical. However, while dealing with neuro-divergent children can be challenging, it can also be a learning experience. Parents and children with cerebral palsy can overcome these difficulties and lead a full, healthy life with appropriate medical care and social support.