Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy(commonly referred to as CP) is an egis term for a group of non-progressive disorders occurring in early development that affect movement and posture, and result in activity limitations. Individuals with cerebral palsyoften experience additional disturbances in sensation, cognition, communication and/or behavior. Overall, there has been a trend toward increased life expectancy.

Individuals with cerebral palsyhave increased health care utilizations rates and often have extensive community service needs especially when they are more severely affected. Cerebral palsyhas been reported as the third leading cause for the need for assistance with basic life activities for adults in Australia, and although there is a shift towards serving the growing aged population, Cerebral Palsycontinues to be a major cause of activity limitations and the need for personal assistance services. Most children live at home with their parents/caregivers and receive community based supports. Adults with Cerebral Palsycommonly live autonomously – sometime with and sometimes without a personal attendant, nurse or care provider.

For individuals with Cerebral Palsy(especially children), families have routinely provided informal or unpaid caregiving and personal assistance services. In Australia, the government provides a tremendous amount of access, resources, money and both paid and unpaid assistance for those who are suffering from Cerebral Palsy.  There is audible speculation regarding the role of both parents and family members in the paid aspect of servicing disables persons.

Much more than you might think, parents get so immersed in the day-to-day caring of their child that they literally stop taking care of themselves. Cerebral Palsyexacts a tremendous financial and emotional burden on a family and especially on the parents.  Parents need to obviate and be pro-active so as to be prepared for the rough time ahead.  If your child has cerebral palsy, this best practice list is for you.

  • Eat Smart. This is a fairly straightforward tip: a caregiver’s ability to provide care for the cerebral palsychild or adult is directly related to the quality of their health. Staying healthy means more energy and less stress. Those who eat smart are more able to cope with the obstacles that are sure to come.
  • Maximize Rest. Many parents don’t get enough sleep, and this can seriously affect their personal relationships and emotional well-being when dealing with a cerebral palsychild. Staying well-rested, like eating healthy, is one of the best ways to keep stress at a minimum.
  • Find relaxation. Everyone needs time to themselves, so they can unwind and get back in the right frame of mind. Parents of cerebral palsy children are more effective caregivers when they give themselves some time off, even if it’s for a couple of hours on the weekend.
  • Get assistance. It can feel nearly impossible to find enough time to get eight hours of sleep, let alone take a break. It is imperative that parents of cerebral palsychildren get assistance when there is too much on their plate. If your cerebral palsychild is overwhelming you, don’t hesitate to ask anyone or a professional to lend a hand.
  • Be a care facilitator at home.Learn from the examples and demonstrations of doctors, physical therapists and other health care practitioners, so that you can provide the same quality of care when you are alone at home with your cerebral palsychild. If you learn the proper ways to help your child exercise home, you can help them stretch their muscles, develop balance and minimize their pain in between office visits.If your child has pain from spasms or convulsions, you will want to be fully aware of ways to handle those situations.
  • Remain cognoscente about the care of your child.Your child may visitseveral health care practitioners, e.g., pediatricians, cerebral palsyspecialists,therapists and more. Your doctor will probably refer your child to a specialist for treatment and monitor the care that your child receives from another doctor.
  • Many doctors prefer for parents to be very involved in the care of children with Cerebral Palsy. You will assist with decision making, learn of the efficacies of different treatments and which of them are most appropriate for your child.   When doctors respect your participation in the therapeutic experience, you’re more likely to be happy with the care of your child.
  • Vent. Keeping all the frustrations of a given day with a cerebral palsy child absolutely will take its toll on you.  Keeping it all inside will ultimately lead to a lethargy or a sense of total fatigue.  Both can be debilitating if not just exhausting. Cerebral Palsycaregivers absolutely must have a go to person with whom they can talk, vent and share their experience with their cerebral palsychild.  If they do, they’ll feel more at ease and less anxious about caring for their child.

 

Children and adults with cerebral palsyrequire long-term care with a medical care team. This team may include:

  • Pediatrician or physiatrist.A pediatrician oversees the treatment plan and medical care for a cerebral palsy
  • Pediatric neurologist.A doctor trained to diagnose and treat children with brain and nervous system (neurological) disorders may be involved in the care of your cerebral palsy  You will want to find one who specializes in peripheral neuropathy and other related disorders such as cerebral palsy.
  • Orthopedic surgeon.In some cases, a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of muscle and bone disorders could get involved in the diagnosis and treatment muscle conditions such as cerebral palsy.
  • Physical therapist.A physical therapist may help your child improve strength and walking skills, and stretch muscles.Cerebral Palsymakes all of these movements quite difficult.
  • Occupational therapist.An occupational therapist can provide therapy to your child to develop daily skills and to learn to use adaptive products that help with daily activities of a cerebral palsychild or adult.
  • Speech pathologist.A doctor trained to diagnose and treat speech and language disorders and who is familiar with cerebral palsyand related speech disorders can work with your child if your child suffers from speech, swallowing or language difficulties.
  • Developmental therapist.A developmental therapist may provide therapy to help your child develop age-appropriate behaviors, social skills and interpersonal skills.
  • Mental health specialist.A mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, may be a part of the care of your cerebral palsy  He or she may help you and your child learn to cope with your child’s disability.
  • Recreation therapist.Participation in art and cultural programs, sports, and other events that help children expand physical and cognitive skills and abilities. Parents of cerebral palsychildren often note improvements in a child’s speech, self-esteem and emotional well-being.
  • Social worker.Social workers are a great resource, and they can assist you and your family with finding services and day-care plans for your cerebral palsy
  • Special education teacher.A special education teacher addresses learning disabilities, determines educational needs and identifies appropriate educational resources.  Their on-site resources, however, are limited to those that are available through the education system.  They may not have what your cerebral palsychild needs if the child’s behavior is erratic.