6 Things You Should Know About Loving A child with Mild Cerebral Palsy

by Jodi Shaw

Loving a child with mild cerebral palsy isn’t easy. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to deal with as a parent. Over 500,000 children are born with cerebral palsy each year. Some cases of cerebral palsy are severe, while others are completely mild. Here are 6 Things You Should Know About Loving A Child with Mild Cerebral Palsy.

Having CP is challenging but not the end of the world

Loving a child with mild cerebral palsy can be challenging but it’s not the end of the world. My son knows he has challenges. I say challenges rather than disabilities because we all face challenges in life.

My husband is a brain injury survivor and I was diagnosed with a mental illness in my twenties. The worst part about loving a child with mild cerebral palsy is that to others their condition may not be seen physically.

Be proud no matter what stage your child is at.

We are often told as parents our children should be a certain stage by a certain age. This is hogwash! Don’t listen to it, especially if you have a child with challenges like mild cerebral palsy.

My son learned sign language before he could even speak so he could communicate. He can’t draw or hold a pencil. He can’t jump on a trampoline. That doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate the milestones. Each one is significant and means something.

You should feel proud of each milestone. We have a saying in our house “We’ll get there when we get there,” and it’s true of loving a child with mild cerebral palsy. Kids with mild cerebral palsy aren’t broken. They are just kids with challenges they face each and every day.

My son has one of the brightest smiles I’ve ever seen. There is no room for pity. His condition isn’t contagious. He is blunt, sometimes rudely honest. He makes friends easily, and yet still gets teased because he is slower when running, doesn’t always understand things and easily forgets.

You can’t protect your kids forever, so knowing that ignorance and fear are always going to be a part of your child’s life is important.

A big heart with a big smile goes a long way

Because life for kids with mild cerebral palsy isn’t easy, laughter is one of the best rewards. Show your child you have a big heart with a big smile and learning to laugh about yourself is one of the best pieces of armor you have against a world. Your child might fall. They might be clumsy. They may have a hard time keeping up with other kids. Maybe even bathing themselves, washing their own hair or holding the fork and spoon right.

Time is your friend

Your child has no schedule for doing things. He or she will get where they are going one day. Time is your friend. Until then, you need to be in their corner.

You are your child’s advocate. So cheer them on. Push them when they need pushing. It’s your job. Just because your child has mild cerebral palsy doesn’t mean they don’t need your guidance.

Limitations hold no boundaries, and time plays no role.

We are all different in one way or another. Nobody in life is perfect. One day your child will reach whatever their full potential is, and it’s our job as parents to be there when they do. To help with their struggles. To teach them how to thrive. Loving a child with mild cerebral palsy isn’t easy, but it’s a joy I wouldn’t change for anything.

Do you love a child who has mild cerebral palsy?

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9 comments

Marilyn @ A Lot of L February 8, 2011 - 2:58 pm

This was a really long post but one that I read with interest. I think you sound like the perfect mom for Trace.

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Karla T February 8, 2011 - 2:04 am

I'm glad that you shared that with us. I know it can be hard to talk about just how challenging it is to parent a child with Asperger's and then you have the additional challenges brought on by CP.

Your post made me sad, and it made me smile and laugh and nod my head in understanding. My son has Asperger's and sometimes the hitting, screaming, breaking things is really more then I can take. But at the same time I love him SO MUCH!

Your son is a beautiful boy. It sounds like you are lucky to have each other.

One thing that has made a difference with my son's meltdowns and behaviors is the group social skills classes held by his therapist once a week. I was skeptical how one hour a week playing games could help, but it's made a difference in his his ability to deal with frustration.

Email me if you'd like to talk.

Karla

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Jodi Shaw February 8, 2011 - 7:32 am

Thank you so much Karla, we are looking into that right now, social and behavioral classes. Our biggest upset with Trace is he's very social and outgoing and great at school. It's when he comes home he lets loose, but he's getting better.

Thanks so much for you comment and for sharing about your son.

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HighlandMummy February 7, 2011 - 10:54 pm

Hey, I could have written this article, starting with the strange feelings whilst pregnant to the balck and blue legs of a little boy with cerebral palsy trying so hard to be like everyone else. My son is ten, and they also think he shows signs of aspergers/ spectrum.

Every day is both a struggle and a blessing. Feel free to check out my blog- I talk about him often.

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Jodi Shaw February 8, 2011 - 7:56 am

Thanks Mummy I definitely will do that. I'd be interested to know what his behaviors are like now that he's older.

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Angel February 7, 2011 - 9:16 pm

As a mom to a bipolar child so much of this sounds so familiar. This was beautifully written and we can see what a beautiful baby he is. Sending love and hugs and hope you realize that you and he are both blessed that God put you together. Have you ever read a piece by Erma Bombeck about how God decides to give someone a special child. Look it up I guarantee you will love it.

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Trina February 7, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Seeing how I am lucky enough to be able to call you one of my best friends and being able to witness all this first hand, I wanted to say publicly that I am proud of you for posting this. I know its not always easy dealing with Asperger's, probably more so combined with the CP, but you're doing a fantastic job. You really are. The hardest part is dealing with other peoples' misconceptions and rude stares/comments.

With Asperger's, some days are easy, some days are hard, and some days are down-right impossible and cause you to question your parenting ability and want to run away screaming. Even more so when well-meaning people, be the friends, family, or strangers tell you "you just need to not give in so much". But the rewards are so, so very worth it! Not many people are given the chance we have. The chance to be able to not take for granted the little things like being proud of your kid because they actually managed to wear the same shirt all day long, despite the tag that's been irritating them. Or when they actually manage to share a toy for 15 minutes without a meltdown – at 7 years old.

The challenges seem insurmountable at times, but take pleasure in the small things. And remember: Pick your battles. If he wants to wear his pj's to preschool, so what? Fight him on the veggie-eating. It's more important. 😉

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Jodi Shaw February 7, 2011 - 5:34 pm

Hahah I love you. You are so incredible! And it weren't for you I would not have made it through parenting Trace. You give me the courage I need to take one day at a time, to go forward and ignore the hated stares and "she's a bad parent" whispers when I try to explain and to not explain but say "screw it" this is my son, my life, my journey and if they don't understand that's okay.

I have let him go to school in his pj's hahah and to the store and outside to play. I won't budge on the veggie thing though LOL! 🙂

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Trina February 8, 2011 - 9:10 am

The feeling's mutual baby! You give me a lot of strength and courage too. And I find it a real blessing to be able to be a part of your life and watch as Trace grows. In an odd way, seeing Trace struggle through the same issues Maddison did makes me feel better. Not because he's struggling, but because it feels like validation. And there's the whole "there's another mom close to me going through the same thing".

Trace is beautiful, and I love him – even when he says he doesn't care about my feelings. HAHA

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