THE BASICS

CEREBRAL PALSY

Disorders connected to an issue with the developing brain (cerebral)
that affects the control and use of a person’s muscles (palsy)

 

THERE ARE 4 MAIN TYPES AND SOMETIMES VERY DIFFERENT EFFECTS

Some may just walk a little differently, others may have seizures, problems with seeing, hearing and speaking, and be unable to walk at all.

can cause stiffness in different parts of the body, on only one side, all four limbs, and other problems as well

can make controlling movements difficult, whether with limbs, hands and feet or the face and tongue

affects balance and coordination and can make everything from walking or writing challenging

the label used with anyone who has symptoms of more than one type

THE FIRST SIGNS

• A child who doesn’t roll over, sit, stand and start walking around the same age as other kids.

• A baby under 6 months who is so floppy her head lags, or if she is stiff, pushes away or crosses her legs oddly when picked up.

• A baby under 10 months who doesn’t roll over, bring her hands together or bring them to her mouth.

• An infant who crawls unevenly, using one hand and leg more than the other side, or scoots around on his backside or knees.

Call your doctor or ask for assistance when you see these signs.
Diagnosing CP earlier means getting started on helpful interventions sooner.

Remember, your child may have some of these delays or issues and not have CP.

AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

Autism is a label that is used to describe very different individuals so is not always clear or helpful

WHAT CAUSES A DISABILITY?


WHAT CAUSES A DISABILITY?

Sometimes the cause of a disability is clear, and in other cases it is not even all that important. But the explanation is often found in one of these three places.

There are disorders that explain why a child is born with a condition that causes disabilities. Some of these are common and have names (like Down Syndrome) and many are so rare that not very much is known about it.

An infection during pregnancy, untreated jaundice or an illness in a very young child that affects the brain can all cause lasting problems.

There are many kinds of trauma that can cause developmental delays and problems in later life. Here are two of the most common.

Birth trauma can cause damage to the brain, often because the baby did not get oxygen during the delivery.

A head injury can be serious for any person, but when a child has a traumatic brain injury it can affect their development. Of course, toddlers and little kids bang their heads all the time without being badly hurt.

DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES

A problem with a child is often noticed when the kid is not developing as expected, when they are not reaching developmental milestones. It’s always good to check with a doctor if you think, your child is not developing.

1


AT 2 MONTHS
Babies respond to things
• their parent’s voices
• sounds
• bright colors


AT 6 MONTHS
• pick up objects
• roll over
• turn when their name is called


AT 1 YEAR
• Start to sit up and stand
• play simple games
• wave bye-bye.

2


AT 2 YEARS
• talk
• feed themselves with a spoon
• show affection

3


AT 3 YEARS
• start to play with other kids
• use sentences
• learn skills like putting on their shoes
• opening doors
• riding a tricycle

4


AT 4 YEARS
• understand numbers
• counting and time (a little)
• speak in 5 or 6 word sentences
• remember and tell stories

5


AT 5 YEARS
• dress and undress without help
• somersault
• swing and climb
• can learn to print some letters.

When to get
YOUR CHILD TESTED

The sooner a child with challenges gets help, the better. Of course, you can only do something to help once a problem has been noticed, and with real kids in the real world, that’s not always so easy.

Your kid’s doctor or teacher, or even a friend or babysitter with experience may suggest testing if they see signs that your child is not progressing like other kids. Getting your child tested may turn up nothing out of the ordinary, or it may help you identify strengths as well as issues that need attention.

As parents, you also want to know what to look for. During a regular doctor visit kids are checked to see if they are reaching their developmental milestones. But as parents you may be the first to notice that your child isn’t growing, walking or talking like other children their age.

SPEECH & LANGUAGE

A real delay in learning to speak

Trouble understanding language

Speaking in an odd voice

Speaking in a flat tone

BEHAVIOR

Sudden outbursts

Odd walk or body posture

Getting stuck on one topic

Unusual clumsiness

WITH OTHER PEOPLE

Not making eye contact

Not showing interest in other people

Not responding when someone is hurt or crying

Unusual trouble separating from a parent

Every kid grows in their own way and none of these mean your child has a problem. Almost every kid gets clingy with a parent at some point or seems to only be interested in one friend or topic. When you’re told not to worry because ‘She’s just doing things in her own time or ‘He’ll catch up with himself’ it may be exactly right, and tests may support that opinion. That’s always good, but so is finding out when early intervention is needed.

MAKING PLANS
The plans that help kids who need help

Individual Family Service Plan

1-3 yrs

Read More

Individual Educational Plan

3-21 yrs

Read More

Remember, plans are designed to change with a child.

FAMILY MATTERS

PARENTS WITH A
DIFFERENCE

Balance is Everything.

Most parents make a big deal about little things at some point, whether about a missed nap, a slight fever or the first day of kindergarten. But when a kid has special needs, it can be hard to avoid making parenting a project.

Read More

BROTHERS
AND SISTERS

It’s complicated.

If you want to appreciate the power of love, see how even the youngest sister or brother looks after a sibling with a difference.

Read More

GOOD
GRANDPARENTING

Taking the Bad with the Good.

Grandparents don’t always have an easy time adjusting to the fact that their adored grandchild has special needs.

Read More

TIME OUT TOGETHER

Family Fun.

When you’re still getting used to having a child with issues that take up a lot of time and space, it can feel like you’re never going to have time to relax together.

Read More

How to be a
GOOD ENOUGH PARENT

THE PERFECT WAY

 

1

Try to do everything right as a parent.

Find out this is impossible.

Get mad at yourself.

 

2

Try to always do exactly what the therapist
or doctor suggested.

Find out this is impossible. Get mad at
the therapist or doctor.

 

3

Expect your child to always
behave in public.

Find out this is impossible. Get mad
at your kid and embarrassed.

 

4

Always expect to know exactly
what to do.

Find out you don’t. Get mad at
your parents for not teaching you.

 

ADMIT YOU’VE IMPERFECT.
RETURN TO 1 AND TRY HARDER.

THE RIGHT WAY

 

1

Try to be a good enough parent.

Find out this could work.

Feel encouraged.

 

2

Try to do what the therapist or
doctor suggested whenever you can.

Find out this works well enough,
Feel OK.

 

3

Expect your child to behave well in public when
they’re not tired, cranky or just impatient.

Find out no one dies from embarrassment.
Feel good to be out of there.

 

4

Give it your best shot,
because there is no guidebook

Feel free to share this news:
someone has to tell your kids.

 

YOU SUCCEEDED.
FEEL GOOD (ENOUGH).

What to do when
PEOPLE FEEL SORRY FOR YOU

You’re told ‘You are being so brave about all this!’ or ‘I don’t know how you do it’

Your options:

You might gently help them see why that’s silly: it’s your kid, not your burden

Try: ‘All kids have challenges: we’re not so different from any other family

Or: ‘We have more to celebrate because every small step can be a big deal’

YOU FEEL PROUD YOU MADE AN EFFORT

You wonder if they are right

YOU FEEL TERRIBLE AND YOU’RE NOT EVEN SURE WHY, EXACTLY

If that kind of remark sounds a lot like ‘thank goodness that’s not my kid!’

Try: ‘She reminds us every day it’s OK to not be perfect. Who does that for you?

We all have problems: Is yours saying things like that?

Every kid has challenges to overcome—even yours!

YOU DON’T FEEL ANNOYED ANYMORE

FRIENDS MATTERS

IF IT WAS EASY, YOU WOULDN’T BE READING THIS

For most kids, making friends is as natural as going down a slide in a playground, hanging out with other kids or riding a tricycle. It just happens.

Except when it doesn’t.

When a child with special needs finds it difficult to make friends, there may be a reason. They can’t keep up, they don’t make eye contact, respond to social cues or speak clearly. It doesn’t mean we don’t all need friends. We do.

FRIENDS ARE
WORTH
WAITING FOR

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FRIENDS ARE
HOW YOU
FIND THEM

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FRIENDS ARE
WORTH
WORKING FOR

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FRIENDS ARE
WHERE YOU
FIND THEM

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