Cerebral Palsy is a movement disorder that affects mobility, balance, and posture. Cerebral Palsy is broken into 4 main types, spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, or mixed cerebral palsy.
It is caused by abnormal brain development, of which the cause is not always certain.
Depending on the type of Cerebral Palsy an individual has, symptoms and the role it plays in their daily life can vary drastically.
Regardless of the type of mobility disorder, you are living with, there are many things you can do to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle.
Below are five tips to help manage living with Cerebral Palsy.
1- Find A Support System
Living with Cerebral Palsy is not something that everyone in your life is going to understand at a level that best meets your needs.
It will make some people overly compassionate, some people uncomfortable, and others at a loss for what to do or say.
This can make it difficult to vent about your frustrations, or speak openly and honestly about your feelings—which if not addressed can make you feel isolated.
To avoid feeling isolated, find a solid support system. This could be achieved by joining an online or offline support group with others struggling with Cerebral Palsy or other movement disorders or having a designated friend or family member you can speak openly and honestly with.
2- Maintain Your Independence
There may be times where it is more difficult than others to maintain your independence. This makes it important to strike a balance between knowing when you need help and maintaining your independence.
Even if it takes longer to dress independently, or get ready in the morning, the sense of accomplishment you achieve will give your life a greater sense of purpose.
3- Invest In Supportive Aids
To best maintain your independence as mentioned above you must invest in support and safety aids.
For example, investing in a walk-in shower or bathtub, nonslip mats, grab bars, a seated bench, and a detachable showerhead can be the difference between you showering independently, or with full assistance.
4- Find Activities You Excel In
There will be times where your lack of mobility becomes particularly frustrating, leaving you feeling down in the dumps.
While you may have physical limitations, you still have an overwhelming number of activities and hobbies you can enjoy.
To help boost your confidence when you are feeling down, find activities you can participate in that you love. This could be anything from arts, crafts, sports, or any hobby that you excel in.
5- Don’t Beat Yourself Up
As difficult as it can be, don’t beat yourself up when your body lets you down. If you spill something, trip, and fall, or find that you need more time to get ready in the morning than you used to, don’t allow these setbacks to bring you into a downward spiral.
If you spend too much time focusing on the negative, you will begin to take for granted all of the positives in your life.
This isn’t to say you can’t vent or express frustration, just ensure you limit yourself. For example allow yourself a designated amount of time per day (like 10 minutes), to be angry or upset, and then let it go and get back to your life.
Cerebral palsy will present you with challenges in your daily life. However, by investing time and energy into the five tips above, your challenges are less likely to become overwhelming.