Cerebral Palsy, also known as CP, is a debilitating disorder which can be caused by brain damage either while a child is in the womb or during birth. People with CP may be affected by one of three types: Ataxic, Athetoid, or Spastic. No matter which type your family is dealing with, it’s important to know how to help your teen cope with Cerebral Palsy.

Most people know that CP affects muscle movement and co-ordination. Each type affects the body differently: Ataxic affects balance and muscle co-ordination, Athetoid causes involuntary movements in the muscles, and Spastic affects the muscle’s tone which can make movement difficult.

Learn everything you can about the condition affecting your child. There’s so much information available through your doctor’s office, the internet, public libraries, and support groups for Cerebral Palsy. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to help your teen cope with their condition.

Even though your teen has a ‘disability’ that doesn’t mean they can’t live a full and satisfying life. Teach your teen how to do as much as possible on their own. Being able to take care of themself will bolster your teen’s self-esteem and teach them they don’t have to depend on you for everything.

Encourage them to excel at whatever they can do. People with disabilities can do marvelous things. Look at Stephen Hawking; even though he has Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, he is widely known for his contributions to the academic world. Things may be more difficult for people with disabilities, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

Finding other families with children and teens with Cerebral Palsy is a great idea. You can learn from one another how to cope with the condition as a family. They may organize meetings where entire families can gather, become friends, and offer support and learning opportunities.

Schools are required to meet the needs of those students with disabilities, but you may have to take time to speak with teachers and administrators to ensure your child’s needs are being met. The same is also true when dealing with health care workers. Don’t be afraid to ask anyone hard questions when it comes to your teen.

If you feel you’re not capable of helping your teen cope with Cerebral Palsy by yourself, don’t feel bad about seeking help from a mental health professional. Psychologists are trained to help clients with disabilities learn to cope, how to handle the frustrations associated with the condition, and help them accept their limitations without giving up.

Learning how to help your teen cope with Cerebral Palsy may not be an easy task; however, it is well worth the effort. Not only will learning to cope with the disability help your teen accept their limitations, it may help them recognize the abilities they do have which can be improved upon so they excel in life.