Article Categories Health-and-Fitness Developmental-Disabilities

Cerebral Palsy And The Small Victories

By: Michael H Price

Celebrate cerebral palsy and the small victories. No, it does not mean anyone is ever happy that he/she, or a loved one, has permanent brain damage. It simply means to be glad for every accomplishment toward independence, no matter how small.

For example, if you have a child with CP, he/she may never walk. However, learning to use the control on an electric wheelchair can provide some autonomy. It might be the not-so-simple act of buttoning a shirt. People without brain injury take so many things for granted. Yet, this seemingly small act should be considered a large victory.

No, it is not fair that you or someone you love has cerebral palsy. But, no one ever said life was fair. It does no good to grouse about all the things that cannot be done. However, it is quite a different matter to celebrate new accomplishments, regardless of how small.

Living Aids

As with any other child, a parent should have the goal to help a child reach his/her full potential in self-care, independence, and adaptive skills. Kids without special needs generally reach standardized benchmarks of growth and development in an expected period of time. The big difference between a child with cerebral palsy and a "normal kid" is the inability to achieve expected abilities at the appropriate time-if ever.

Thankfully, a plethora of living aids have been developed to help children and adults with cerebral palsy live as independently as possible, under the circumstances. If you or your child is mildly or moderately affected by CP, independence may not be an unreasonable expectation. For example, this short list of living aids may enable you or your loved one to eventually have a home and normal daily independence.

Have you ever heard the expression: "Necessity is the mother of invention?" In other words, if you cannot do a necessary activity to be more independent one way, figure out another, and use those aids.

For example, if you cannot reach the upper kitchen cupboards, you can find pieces of furniture that will store your dishes and food. A pie safe is great for food supplies. A movable island can hold dishes and provide a place to prepare meals for those who may be confined to a wheelchair. Likewise, dressing aids are available to help someone with cerebral palsy be able to get dressed independently.

So many aids are now available to help the disabled live independently, if at all possible. However, it is a lot easier to begin raising a child with special needs with the end goal of possible independent living. If you are always doing things for a child with special needs, or if you allow others to do things you can learn to do for yourself, neither is a favor. Even if it takes 10 times longer, at first, and is frustratingly difficult, the goal of achieving any independence is worth the effort. Then, you can celebrate cerebral palsy and the small victories.

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