Cerebral Palsy - Support for Parents
A diagnosis that your child is suffering from a disability can be devastating in the early days. Cerebral palsy is sometimes diagnosed at birth, and in other cases it is raised as a possibility as developmental milestones aren’t met in the first six months. Once concerns have been highlighted, it’s usual for your baby to go through a period of monitoring and testing. For some parents a final diagnosis can feel like the end of an agonizing wait.
Whatever time it happens, learning that your child has cerebral palsy is very tough. Coping with conflicting emotions and dealing with other people’s reactions, while trying to find the answers to numerous worries and questions is stressful. Talking to other people who understand can really help at this time. You’re not alone.
Cerebral palsy affects 1 in 400 children born in the UK, and covers a wide spectrum of movement, posture and coordination disabilities. Help and support is out there - here are some places to look.
• Scope, www.scope.org.uk, is a charity that works to help disabled people and their families through practical information and support. Experienced advisors are on call to offer advice and answer questions, particularly at the time of diagnosis and in a child’s early years. There’s a free helpline - 0808 800 33 33 - for any queries or concerns you may have. The Helpline is also the place to call if you’d like the help of a regional support worker. Scope will arrange a home visit with an experienced support worker who will be able to signpost you towards other services that will help you and your child.
• It’s worth knowing about Face2Face too, Scope’s one-to-one befriending service for parents of disabled children.
Talking to someone who truly understands can make all the difference - Face2Face will link you up with people in your area that you can meet up with. Call 0844 800 9189 for details of groups in your area.
• Another place you can reach out to is Contact a Family, www.cafamily.org.uk, a national charity that offers help and support for families with disabled children. With a UK-wide network of family workers and parent volunteer representatives, they will be able to listen, advise, and point you towards services and support in your area. As well as emotional support, Contact a Family provide benefits advice and medical information. Call 0808 808 3555, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meeting other parents and sharing experiences is valuable for helping families adjust to life with a disabled child. Building a good support network will help everyone in your family, and it’s a positive step you can take at a very difficult time.
We see ourselves as part of a support network, helping families win compensation in cases where cerebral palsy is birth related. If you think your child’s injuries might have been caused by events during birth, do get in touch.
Jane Couch and Richard Blair at WBW specialise in clinical negligence cases surrounding birth. They are experienced in dealing with the complexities surrounding cerebral palsy cases, and in getting compensation in cases where negligence has caused injuries at birth. If you’d like Jane or Richard to investigate your case, and help your family seek compensation, please ring on 01626 202413 or 01803 407632.