Living with cerebral palsy

    • Brief

    • A diagnosis of cerebral palsy may have you worried about how you will cope with your daily activities. Cerebral palsy should not stop you from attaining great heights. You may face challenges such as difficulties moving your limbs. However, these may be managed with physical therapy and the use of aids such as a walking stick.

    • Challenges you may face living with cerebral palsy

    • Cerebral palsy is a condition that majorly affects how you control your movement. There may be additional challenges, like speech problems, intellectual disabilities and social problems.

      Some of these challenges include:

      • Problems with movement. the extent of disability will be different from person to person. Most people have very stiff joints, while some do not control how fast or slow their limbs can go. Your healthcare provider will advise you on the limits of your ability to move and the right aids for you. Common aids include walking sticks and wheelchairs. Your healthcare provider may place you on medicines to reduce the pains you may feel from stiff joints, and medications or surgeries to ease your movement.
      • Medical problems. you may be at risk of medical problems such as convulsions, poor vision, difficulty hearing, difficulty passing stools, difficulty swallowing, anxiety and depression. With hearing difficulties, your healthcare provider may recommend a hearing aid. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits such as oranges and drinking enough water to soften your stools can improve your bowel health. If you need to see specialists for any conditions, your healthcare provider will refer you to them.
    • Problems with speech

    • Some people living with cerebral palsy may have difficulty speaking. Their speech may be slow, they may stutter, or may not be easy to understand when they talk. Other people will need to be more patient when trying to communicate with you. You can draw or show them images of what you are trying to say to help them understand. You be helped with the services of a speech therapist. You can find a speech therapist in schools that cater for children with special needs or in government hospitals.

      Some foundations in Nigeria can help identify healthcare providers and therapists that come prequalified, including, and benola foundation.

    • Problems with learning

    • If you may not have problems with learning you can register at a regular school or for other learning programs that everyone else attends. However, if you have difficulty understanding or difficulty writing, you may require some help. You may need to take extra lessons to help you cope. Your caregiver may hire a teacher trained in teaching people with special needs.

    • Social problems

    • People living with disabilities are especially at risk of social problems such as neglect, abuse or bullying. These can happen even at the hands of your caregivers. It is essential to have someone you trust to support you in reporting these issues. You or your caregiver can call the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team on 08000333333 to report any case of abuse. There are schools that cater to people with cerebral palsy that have boarding facilities. This may be a solution if, as a caregiver, you cannot cater for your loved one yourself.

    • Job opportunities and independent living

    • Depending on the severity of your cerebral palsy, you may need help with most of your daily activities at the early stages of your life. However, with continuous training with your physiotherapists and occupational therapists, you will learn to do most of your activities independently. You may also need to learn skills to support yourself, such as computer skills, vocational skills, or arts and crafts.

    • Self-care tips

    • Here are some tips to lead a healthy life with cerebral palsy:

      • Eating healthy. Try to eat as much fruit and vegetables as you can and have an overall balanced diet. If you have any difficulty with food, such as problems digesting your food or passing stools, reach out to your healthcare provider.
      • Sleep well. Try to get enough sleep daily. It helps to keep your mind at rest.
      • Apart from your physical therapy sessions, find a simple exercise to help with strengthening your muscles. You can take a walk or play a sport. You may also need to buy aids such as a walking stick or a wheelchair to ease your movement.
      • You do not have to do live your life alone. Make friends and hang out with them in fun places.
    • Kulawa cares

    • Cerebral palsy does not define you. You can have a great life while living with cerebral palsy. You can go to school, have friends and get skilled to earn a living. You may face challenges, but remember you are not alone and there are people available to help. As a caregiver to a person with cerebral palsy, remember to care for yourself, too.