My Child Will Never Be Able To Walk
When a child is very young, it is generally too soon to make a judgment about his or her long-term physical abilities. There are many complex issues that will come into play from a healthcare and rehabilitation perspective.
A child’s self-motivation for physical independence also plays a key role. A parent can get connected by networking with other parents, as well as by asking their pediatrician to recommend an agency, hospital, or clinic that can provide the orthopedic evaluations comprehensive medical care and physical therapy.
My Child Will Never Be Able To Communicate
All children communicate in one form or another. Many children benefit from ongoing speech therapy.
For a child who has limited speech or difficult-to-understand speech, there are an increasingly wide array or augmentative/alternative speech systems available. Young children learn with simple communication boards, basic “yes/no” switches and sign language.
As children grow older and gain the ability to operate more complex communication systems, they typically graduate to more sophisticated and high-tech electronic devices.
From the parent’s perspective, it is important to find an educational program or in-house service that is savvy about speech therapy and augmentative communication systems and introduces these services at the earliest point possible.
Your local school district or county health department can direct you to speech and augmentative communication services in your community.
My Child Will Never Have Friends Who Are Non-Disabled
Throughout their lives, children with disabilities have constant, natural opportunities to interact with youngsters who are non-disabled, such as play groups and family gatherings.
Many preschool settings are now integrated and children who have disabilities learn side-by-side with their typically developing peers.
When they graduate from preschool, they may go on to inclusionary public school settings.
My Child Won’t Have A Normal Life In The Community
Children with cerebral palsy and other disabilities have the potential for a childhood, adolescent, and adult life that is satisfying, challenging and, from almost every perspective, similar to everyone else’s.
Depending on their degree of disability, they may eventually live on their own or in a small supervised group settings.
They may marry and have children of their own.
They will face the emotional highs and lows and challenging life circumstances that every person faces at various points in their lives.
Most important, they will have a choice in selecting the lifestyle and living situation that they prefer.
My Child Will Never Be Independent
Today there exists an incredible variety of assistive devices and services that enhance the independence of individuals with cerebral palsy.
There are also simple modifications that can be made to a person’s home, school and work environments to facilitate independence and productivity.
Lowering the clothes bar and shelves in a closet, widening doorways and installing hand-held showers, all make it possible for a child who has cerebral palsy to actively participate in self-care activities. Adapted utensils and appliances enable a child to have access and independence in feeding and food preparations.
Other assistive technology devices, ranging from alternative communication systems to computer adaptations, to adapted toys, enhance independence in all areas of a child’s life.