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Cerebral palsy: How you, as a parent, can help your child

Having a baby can be one of the most exciting, joyful, yet challenging experiences of your life. It can also be quite stressful or tragic, if something goes wrong during the labor, delivery or postpartum processes. Sadly, medical negligence often leads to serious birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, that devastate parents of newborns and cause infants to suffer permanent disability.

As a Texas parent of a child with cerebral palsy, you're an integral component of his or her medical team. While there will likely be difficult days ahead, some more-so than others, a cerebral palsy diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean your child cannot overcome the challenges of his or her condition in order to live as high quality a life as possible. Parents in your situation do well to learn where to seek additional, outside support when needed.

Licensed professionals are only part of your child's therapy

The symptoms of cerebral palsy may have been immediately apparent when your child was born, or perhaps, didn't surface until much later. In either case, it is likely that you will spend a lot of time traveling back and forth to doctors' offices, physical therapy centers and other licensed professional facilities equipped to help your son or daughter build balance skills, reduce pain and discomfort, and obtain any treatments necessary to address complications associated with his or her condition.

Your child's therapy doesn't have to cease when you arrive back home. You can learn what to do if your child has a muscle spasm. You can also continue to work with him or her to develop balance and agility skills, if he or she is able to walk. If your child is in a wheelchair or is non-verbal, you can assist him or her with daily living tasks and can learn about at-home exercises and activities to build physical strength and boost your child's spirit.

Alternatives to sports

Cerebral palsy might prevent someone from playing sports or performing other, rigorous, physical activities; however, there are many experiences and resources available that you and your child might enjoy together, such as visiting museums or a local library. Music has a tremendous, positive effect on the human mind. You can provide many opportunities for your child to listen to various types of music. Classical music, in particular, is known to help improve cognitive ability.

Depending on your child's condition, he or she may be able to learn to play a musical instrument or to sing. Board games and other activities that do not require intense, physical movement can provide fun and challenging learning experiences that help your son or daughter reach his or her full potential in life.

Parents are advocates for their children

Many Texas parents understandably feel frustrated and angry when medical negligence causes their newborn infants to suffer permanent injury. It's only natural that you'll become your child's personal cheerleader, as he or she strives to achieve his or her highest level of cognitive and physical function.

Talking to other parents of children with cerebral palsy may provide emotional and practical support to you, as well. Situations like yours often lead to litigation, and if you're considering filing a claim on behalf of your son or daughter, you'll want to connect with a legal advocate who is well versed in medical malpractice laws.

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HOUSTON, TEXAS 77007

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