If you are the parent of a child with Cerebral Palsy, then you know that it can be difficult to manage both their physical and emotional care. Caring for a child who faces daily challenges can be overwhelming, but knowing how to provide them with the emotional support they need is vital. In this blog, our team at Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC will highlight some stress factors that may trigger your child, including identifying signs of depression and how you can alleviate their worries.
It's no secret that stress can have a negative impact on our health, both physical and mental. But for children with Cerebral Palsy, stress can be particularly damaging. Below are some factors that can make managing your child’s mental health more difficult.
Children with Cerebral Palsy have difficulty communicating their needs and managing their emotions because the part of the brain that regulates emotions typically isn’t fully developed due to damage. Because children with Cerebral Palsy are more likely to experience challenges communicating, it can also trigger other conditions and health problems like headaches, seizures, and gastrointestinal issues.
Be sure to be patient with your child when communicating with them. By taking the time to listen and understand what they are trying to say, you can help reduce their stress levels. Consider using alternative communication methods, such as sign language or picture boards. You can help make their lives a little bit easier by making an effort to communicate effectively.
A child’s environment can be an additional stress factor in their lives. For example, a child with Cerebral Palsy might feel anxious in a classroom setting due to the noise level and lack of understanding from classmates. In addition, classmates may tease or exclude them, which can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Another challenge a child with CP may face is the lack of accessibility in their environment—this can make everyday activities like going to school or playing with friends very difficult.
Consider special education services for your child to reduce the risk of anxiety they may face in a traditional classroom. If you’d rather keep your child in a traditional classroom, be sure to inform their educator of their condition. Often, teachers will make accommodations for your child to make sure the classroom is physically accessible and an inclusive environment.
Signs of Depression
Although you may do your best to alleviate stressors, sometimes it just isn’t enough. It’s not uncommon for a child with CP to experience depression and anxiety as they grow older. There are a variety of signs that may indicate that a child with Cerebral Palsy is experiencing depression. These can include changes in:
- Sleeping patterns
- Energy levels
- Ability to concentrate
Children with Cerebral Palsy may withdraw from friends and activities that they once enjoyed, or they may start to exhibit aggressive or self-harming behaviors. If you are concerned that your child may be depressed, it is important to talk to a doctor or mental health professional.
Several therapies can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. For example, behavior therapy can help children develop coping skills and effectively manage their emotions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can also help teach children how to change negative thought patterns and develop a more positive outlook on life.
In addition, art and play therapies can provide children with creative outlets for expressing their feelings. With the help of these therapies, children with Cerebral Palsy can learn how to cope with their condition and lead happier, more fulfilling lives.
We Can Help Too
You shouldn’t have to deal with the costs of care on your own if your child was recently diagnosed with CP due to the negligence of a medical professional. Here at Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC, we will work diligently to get you the compensation you need to cover your child’s medical expenses. When you are ready, give us a call at (502) 242-8872 or fill out a consultation request form on our website here.
You and your family deserve peace of mind during this challenging time, and we’re willing to fight on your family’s behalf to get you all the justice you deserve.