You and your family and
friends can help your child reach his or her highest potential. Focus on his or
her strengths. And build
self-esteem by helping your child learn to do things
by himself or herself. For more information see:
Growth and Development: Helping Your Child Build Self-Esteem.
child approaches the teen years and young adulthood, be aware of his or her
- Teens and adults with CP need
emotional support and understanding. Family members
and other supportive friends and family can help them deal with the daily
challenges of having CP.
- Gradually prepare your child with CP for
independent living. Usually teens have learned to use
their talents and strengths. But they may need extra help and encouragement to
prepare for added expectations and responsibilities.
- Teens and
young adults with CP may also need more guidance than other people their age in
developing intimate relationships.
Learn to change your routines as your child with CP grows and develops. For example,
you may not be able to continue caring for a severely affected child who is
growing tall and heavy. Try to plan ahead for the time when your
grown child with CP is not under your care. For more information, see the
Other Places to Get Help section of this topic.
Preparing your child for
adulthood takes careful planning. It also requires patience and resourcefulness
on your part. Do not abandon your efforts because of frustrating setbacks or
- Encourage independent living skills. A time
may come when you or other family members can no longer assist your child in all areas.
- Plan for an
adult's current and future health care needs. Complications of cerebral palsy may develop and affect quality of life. Also, some forms of CP are
more severe and require special assistance.
- Help your older child prepare an advance directive, a form that describes a person's wishes about the kinds of medical care to receive when he or she can no longer make medical decisions. For more information, see the topics Writing An Advance Directive and Home Medical Records.
Occupational therapy and similar programs may be
helpful. Most adults with CP are employed, despite moderate to severe physical
disability. Laws protect the rights of disabled people to
find and hold employment (among other rights). Learn about the provisions of
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 at www.ada.gov.
- Older adults
with CP may need extra help preparing for retirement.