Cerebral Palsy (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Support Groups and Counseling
Clearly, children with cerebral palsy may have very substantial problems, but almost all have the potential to learn, achieve, succeed, and create a happy life for themselves. This cannot happen without effort, and they need the help of their families. Having a child with cerebral palsy brings many challenges. It is understandable, then, that parents and siblings of a child with cerebral palsy may have significant stress. A parent may feel guilt, anger, anxiety, and/or hopelessness. The parent may feel alone and uncertain about what he or she should do.
Before parents can help themselves or their child, they need to develop appropriate expectations and get organized. Only then can parents learn practical ways to cope with the child's problems and put these methods into practice. But making changes is not always easy. Sometimes it helps to have someone to talk to.
This is the purpose of support groups. Support groups consist of people in similar situations. They come together to help each other and to help themselves. Support groups provide reassurance, motivation, and inspiration. They help parents see that their situation is not unique and not hopeless, and that gives them power. Support groups also provide practical tips on coping with cerebral palsy and navigating the medical, educational, and social systems that parents will rely on for help for themselves and their child. Being in a cerebral palsy support group is recommended by most mental health professionals.
Support groups meet in person, on the telephone, or on the Internet. To find a support group that works, contact the following organizations. Parents can also ask a member of their child's care team or go on the Internet. If parents do not have access to the Internet, they should go to the public library.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2013
Norberto Alvarez, MD
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