Some or all of the following areas may be affected by Cerebral Palsy:
It is so important to be able to communicate, to inform those around us how we are feeling, what we need, like and don’t like, even as a baby. A child with CP may have difficulty with any one of the verbal or non-verbal means of communication we typically use and as a result may need additional strategies such as the use of symbols books, voice output devices etc. These will take time and specialist training to integrate into the child’s everyday life.
Nursery and School
The aim is for every child with CP to achieve their potential. This may mean they need help to participate in play and learning at home, nursery or school. Some children will cope well in mainstream placements but others may benefit from being in specialised placements.
Many children will CP will experience difficulty moving around in their environment. This can range from problems turning over in bed to not being able to move on the floor or difficulties with walking. The child may need more time to get around, or need to use a walking aid or a wheelchair. As the child becomes older, adaptations to the house may become necessary.
Mealtimes can be very stressful for children and their family, take a long time and cause significant worries about the child’s safety and growth in the future. Physical help, special preparation of food and drink, equipment such as supportive seating and adapted cutlery may be needed for the child to eat and drink. This will affect the way mealtimes are perceived by the family as a whole.
Personal care (dressing/bathing etc)
These activities can be a real challenge to the child with CP and their family. Often parents say that there is not enough time as it can take longer, especially if the child needs more assistance or uses specialised equipment for the bath and toilet. This can have an impact on other members of the family who need to get ready.
Medical and therapy appointments
It is fair to say that a child with CP and their family will have more appointments than most. In the beginning these may be more frequent, but as the child gets older, may particularly relate to specific times of their life e.g. if needing orthopaedic intervention.