When a loved one has cerebral palsy (CP), he or she may need help fighting for the respect, services and quality of life they deserve. This is especially true when your loved one is still young.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, or simply a good friend of someone with CP, you can have their back in a number of tough situations. Here’s how to advocate smarter:
1. Put yourself in your loved one’s shoes
Most people want the same basic things out of life. We want the security of knowing our basic needs, like food, shelter, and hygiene, will be met. We want to feel that we are respected, trusted, and loved by those closest to us. We want the opportunity to discover the ‘new’ and the support to pursue them.
Start by assuming your loved one with CP wants, and deserves, these same basic things out of life. By starting here, you help ensure that you’re fighting for the highest quality of life possible for a human, whom you love.
2. Go on a quest to learn
You don’t have to know everything about CP in order to help a loved one, but you can offer more assistance and make more informed decisions if you understand both the condition and the people who live with it.
Use the Internet or head to your local library to read up on CP. Online resources like a guide to advocacy at TheCPLawyer.com can help you advocate for your loved one and make informed decisions. And don’t forget to seek out the perspectives of others who have CP: blogs and biographies can help you imagine new possibilities for your loved one and give you ideas for achieving them.
3. Try to keep life normal as possible
Understand that life will be a constant adjustment with your loved one who has CP, but you don’t have to stop living. Many people at times believe that when in a caretaker’s role, their whole life has been taken away right in front of them, but the truth is quite the contrary. There are many ways that your loved one with CP can enjoy a normal life with you. There are restaurants and entertainment facilities that will accommodate your loved one and yourself.
Doing normal things can help your morale as well as that of your loved one. The less stress you have on this journey, the better things will be for both of you.The Center for Persons with Disabilities teaches the etiquette of approaching people with disabilities. They teach the overall concept not making the disability your focus, or your love one’s life.
4. Help the whole family
When one family member is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the entire family adjusts to accommodate their loved one’s needs. Spread your support around by helping family members as well. “Help” doesn’t have to be huge. Often, it’s the small things that show we care the most.
Schedule a phone call, a coffee date, errands,or laundry into your week in order to help your loved one and their closest caretakers to take a much-needed break.
Now, this is not the end all be all for tips, but this is awesome information to build a foundation. This is a disease that affects many people in so many different ways. The more research and knowledge obtained, the better off you are in understanding how to fight against this disease.
At this point, we live in an age of information and there are no excuses in not being educated. While there may not be a cure for this disease, there are methods to help control it.