It can be incredibly daunting to receive a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy at any age. For a parent whose young child has just been diagnosed this can be very difficult to process. For an older person a diagnosis can be a huge relief, the resolution to a long struggle to understand the physical challenges they have faced.
For those with young children it’s important to take a little time to process this news as a family, and then you can start working together to manage the condition positively.
The earlier a diagnosis is secured the easier this can be. You will be able to start working on various therapies and meeting with specialists for regular support.
Here are a few things that you might find helpful:
Step 1: Communicate with friends and family
You are going to need extra support in the years to come, it is important to make sure that everyone involved properly understands the condition. It can be difficult to explain this to young siblings, but be open about it and ensure they know they can ask questions.
Step 2: Understand the NHS support system
You will be referred by your GP to a specialist Paediatrician, and it is them who will help to coordinate your child’s care. Your paediatrician will refer you towards relevant medical help i.e. physiotherapy and speech therapy. Ask your GP to properly explain the referral processes to you if you don't feel you fully understand it.
Step 3: External support
There are a range of charities and organisations that function to support people with Cerebral Palsy, you can find some of them on our help & advice page. If you live in an area that has an active Cerebral Palsy Society then you could get involved with people in your community. Alternatively you can connect with others using our free online forum.
Step 4: Do you need financial help?
There are various charities and organisations that can help with funding for specific equipment. In cases where you believe Cerebral Palsy may have been caused by an injury at or around the time of birth or as the result of a mismanaged pregnancy then you may be able to claim compensation to support your child in the years to come. See our legal advice page for more information.