Raising and caring for a child with cerebral palsy (CP) will of course have its challenges, but with the correct balance of planning, organization, and support, you’ll eventually be able to handle the tasks as you would with the caring of any other child. Keep in mind that it may take time and adjustments to figure out a home care plan that works for you and your family, but the persistence and dedication will pay off.
Set up Daily Home Care Goals
Being at home is often to most comforting place a child with CP can be. It’s also an ideal place for children to learn and grow while feeling accepted and the best place to help them get acquainted with daily plans and activities. To get started, you’ll need to think of what your daily goals are. For example, most parents raising children with CP want their kids to learn how to be as independent as possible while also engaging in daily socialization. Regardless of what your ultimate goals are, it’s a good idea to make a list of things you want to accomplish. An example goal list may include:
- Promoting self-independence
- Practicing daily living activities
- Social interaction
- Healthy meals scheduled in advance
- Practice daily physical therapy
- Practicing grooming and hygiene skills
If you need assistance in setting up home goals, talk with your child’s physician, therapist, or others who care for children with CP. Often, other people who were in a similar situation may offer goals to strive for that you may not have thought of yet.
Reaching Home Care Goals
Once you have your daily goals clearly established, you’ll need to make plans to help you reach your goals. For instance, if one of your goals is to make sure you have scheduled mealtimes with the appropriate diet for your child, consider learning the recipes yourself and planning meals in advance, or if your goal is to have more time to work with your child on daily activities, there are several dietitians and nutritionists who specialize in meal planning for children with CP and their families.
Bath time can often be a stressful time for parents, but it can also be used as a form of therapy for children with CP. Along with grooming and hygiene, you can help your child practice speech as well as range of motion exercises, making it easier to hit several daily goals all at once.
Encourage Family and Community Participation
It’s difficult to care for a disabled child alone. Make a list of chores and tasks other family members can do to help you and your child out. For example, an older sibling can help with playtime activities while you clean your home. Other examples include educational play dates with neighborhood children, at-home physical therapy sessions, and more. The more people involved, the easier it will be for you to reach your goals.
Seek out Additional Resources
There are always resources available to those who need a helping hand or even just someone to listen to the daily dilemmas of taking care of a special needs child. If you start to feel overwhelmed consider reaching to other parents who are going through similar issues, financial assistance from CP resource groups, and community groups and sessions dedicated to children with disabilities.