I have talked about lessening the impact for those living with Cerebral Palsy, but the biggest challenge living with someone with Cerebral Palsy in the family is how the child with Cerebral Palsy can succeed around those in the family who are able-bodied.
Apparently 90% of families who have a child that lives with Cerebral Palsy consider the experiences helpful as the family grow closer, but that doesn’t happen in all families. It is true that the roller coaster effect of dealing with the many ups and downs of Cerebral Palsy can be exhausting emotionally and may leave little time or patience for parents to deal with their other children.
Although my parents spent time taking me to the hospital and physiotherapy appointments, my Cerebral Palsy needs at home were never addressed. Emotionally, I struggled to cope and withdrew very early on. I hid behind my condition, it was easier that way. With the proper management of my condition within my family, the impact for me could have been managed.
And although I had yearly examinations to make sure my legs were growing properly, health care professionals didn’t get involved and neurologically nothing was ever mentioned. I was left to get on with my life, but couldn’t because my emotional needs were never met. Sadly, no thought was given to my physical health or emotional health, apart from my mandatory hospital check ups.
I have since been told by a Neurologist that had I not been missed, I may have been made to wear a leg brace and might have been put into a special school for children with disabilities. That still doesn’t make what happened for me right. That in some way, I should be grateful that didn’t happen.
When it comes to Cerebral Palsy, time should also be set aside for other siblings too, so that their needs are also met. There has to be some form of integration in families, so there is less segregation. Those times have changed since I was born.
There is more support now, so the physical and emotional needs of children can be addressed individually and can be met by those families.