Caring for a Child with Cerebral Palsy: What Parents Need to Know

When a child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), it can be a source of great stress and disappointment for the entire family. CP is the most common motor disability in childhood, and it is important for parents and caregivers to understand the condition and its implications. In addition, extended family members should consider their role in the life of a child with cerebral palsy. CP is a lifelong condition, so family involvement in the life of a person with CP is likely to extend beyond childhood.

It is critical for parents and caregivers to ensure that their children get the nutrients and proteins they need to thrive. While a diagnosis of CP may surprise parents, this condition can be managed with appropriate treatment and ongoing care. Siblings must also deal with having a brother or sister with certain needs. They often learn to be more patient, empathic, and helpful than many of their peers, but they can also experience challenges with having a sibling with special needs.

To help siblings understand the health status of another sibling, NYU Langone Health recommends that parents explain the condition to their children using age-appropriate language. There are many factors that could affect a person's ability to form relationships, such as the severity of CP, co-existing conditions, parental support, and more. There are some aspects of daily life that may present some additional challenges for people with CP. Therefore, due to the physical, psychological and social challenges often experienced by parents of children with CP, ongoing intervention, such as social, psychological and financial support, must be carried out to alleviate the suffering of those parents. The steps to embrace life with CP focus on parental acceptance, optimism, and support.

Some children with CP, especially those with significant mobility limitations, will need help with meals and snacks. The financial burden faced by families of children with CP is less comprehensible to most governments.