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Instil confidence in a child with cerebral palsy in these ways

In parenting corner this week we talk about confidence building in a child with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder where the individual will have difficulties in muscle co-ordination, and most probably, some other physical or intellectual disabilities too. But with right guidance and training, people with cerebral palsy can do exceptionally well in life.

Today, most parents are aware of disabilities and therapies that are needed for their children. Apart from doing internet researches, parents are admitting their children in the best schools so that they can be empowered and stand on their own feet. Thanks to the right guidance from such parents, there are many children and adults with cerebral palsy who are skilled and talented. Gone are days when disabilities were considered to be a deterrent to normal life. Most importantly, parents must understand their child's disability and stand with them through thick and thin.

Mothers are usually the caregivers and spend their entire life reaching out to the child which makes them frustrated. The most important thing is for parents must share roles. The family plays a crucial part in empowering children with cerebral palsy. There are many instances where medical practitioners label the child saying they will not improve. That is not the case. Never give up on the child. Provide them with right therapies. It will be a slow process that takes time, but definitely worth it. Introduce your child to assistive devices that are available easily. That helps them a lot. - Chitra Shah, Founder, Satya Special School

Here are some tips for parents who have children with cerebral palsy

  • Parents are the first therapists- Professional therapists and guidance are required for a child with cerebral palsy. But no one knows a child best like their own parent. Start training your child at a very young age at home. They must know that their parents are going to be there with them through good and bad times. This will only increase the self-esteem and confidence of a child with cerebral palsy. Make them exercise at home. Like stretching their muscles and building balance. Learn some basic techniques to train your child which can help in your child's mobility.
  • Let them take part in activities - From a very young age your child must know that he is an integral part of the society. The sooner you start training them for that, the better. So let them take part in activities along with other children who do not have disabilities. This might be a little hard for both you and your child. But in the long run, this will only do well to your child. If there are community events and games, make sure that your child is also participating in it.
  • Cultivate interests - A child with cerebral palsy will be talented, skilled and intellectual. Parents just have to find where their strengths lie. Most of the children carry their interests throughout their adulthood as well. If they like a particular sport, let them pursue it well. Introduce them to classes where they can learn more about it. If your child loves reading books, let them read to their heart's fill.
  • Focus on abilities - Being the parent of a disabled child can bring many challenges. At times, you might even feel like breaking down. At the same time, you also need to understand that you are responsible in making your child strong enough to face the world. So teach them from a very young age to focus on their abilities. Each child has some ability of their own. You must help them identify that and work on it as well.

Vinayana Khurana, a blogger and student with cerebral palsy calls her mother Neerja Sharma Khurana her biggest pillar of strength. Neerja says she never looked at her daughter as less capable or able. "When she was a child, I used to make sure that she does not miss any physiotherapy sessions. I would tell her other children go to school, she needs to go for something different. It was never made to be a tedious task for her. Both of us enjoyed the process. I also made sure that she plays and spends time with other children who do not have any disabilities. Even children were co-operative by adjusting games to suit Vinayana' requirements".

Be positive and encourage your child to be be so too.

ALSO READ: Befriending a person with cerebral palsy? Check out these tips

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