Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month: How to Support Someone With Cerebral Palsy
March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month! There are over 10,000 babies born each year with cerebral palsy and over 750,000 children and adults with cerebral palsy in the United States.
Cerebral Palsy is a physical or motor disability. It affects different people in different ways. Cerebral Palsy can impact movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, and muscle tone. It can also affect balance and posture.
If you are a caregiver for a person with Cerebral Palsy (CP) you can help them by learning about their condition and ways to support them. Read below for ideas on how to support a person with CP.
Even though CP can make movement difficult, it's important for individuals with CP to stay active and improve mobility and muscle tone. Consider an exercise routine several times per week highlighting exercises that can be done safely and without pain. You can also look for a sports league in your area that supports children with disabilities.
You may also want to contact a physical therapist or occupational therapist that specializes in working with people with CP. They will help you build an exercise routine for your loved one.
Find the Right Equipment
Assistive devices can help a person with CP engage in activities of daily living. Wheelchairs or wheelchair-accessible vehicles may help you and your child travel more easily and efficiently. You can also make modifications to your home, like adding ramps, to make it more accessible.
If you cannot afford the equipment, there are resources that offer financial assistance for caregivers of people with CP. These resources include government benefits as well as the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA), UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation, and the MORGAN Project.
Join a Support Group
There are CP support groups for individuals with CP and groups for their parents or caregivers. Peer support groups can help individuals cope with the physical and emotional challenges of CP. And family support groups can help caregivers learn to care for themselves too.
Being a full-time caregiver for a person with CP can be physically and emotionally tiring and it may help to connect with others that have similar experiences.
Support group members may also have recommendations for resources and activities in the community. Search for a support group in your area or look for additional caregiver resources.
Provide Healthy Food
All children should be eating a healthy diet, but for children and adults with CP healthy foods are essential. For example, calcium-rich foods like milk and nuts can help support bone health. Talk to your child's doctor about specific diet suggestions.
Celebrate Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
With the right care and support, children with CP can thrive in their environment. This year, celebrate Cerebral Palsy awareness month by getting involved with a local group or wearing green to show your support.
Take time to continue to learn more about CP and how you can be the best ally or caregiver possible.
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