Feeling ostracized is one of the most difficult things that people with cerebral palsy have to deal with. If you’re not sure how to deal with people with cerebral palsy, learning a bit about it can make you feel more relaxed and help you to make them feel more relaxed, as well.
If you just found out that your child has cerebral palsy, these are skills that you’re going to need to learn.
1: Hearing Impaired
Many people with cerebral palsy have hearing impairments. If you need to get their attention, the accepted and proper way to do it is to tap them on the shoulder. They’ll be accustomed to people doing this when they need their attention and it won’t startle them. If they happen to have somebody with them that uses sign language to translate what you say into something that the person with cerebral palsy can perceive, remember to speak directly to the person you are talking to. Do not speak to the interpreter.
Sometimes it takes a person with cerebral palsy quite a bit longer to get what they’re saying out than it does for a person without any speech issues. Make certain that you’re patient and wait for them to finish their sentences. Some people have a tendency to try to finish the sentences of a person with a speech impediment for them. This is rude. If you’re going to talk with someone who has cerebral palsy, be prepared to accommodate the fact that they sometimes have a hard time of it getting words out.
3: Don’t Assume/Coddle
People with cerebral palsy have different challenges than people without the disorder in terms of getting around in dealing with everyday life. They develop different skills to deal with these challenges. Don’t assume that someone with cerebral palsy needs your assistance just because they’re in a wheelchair. They’ll ask if they need help but, if they don’t ask, you can either offer politely to help them with something that they seem to be struggling with or wait for them to ask on their own. Sometimes, when they’re struggling with something, it’s because they’re only learning how to deal with a new challenge.