Nutrition is important for every child, particularly for a child with Cerebral Palsy. Getting your child the proper food and vitamins, every day, can be important for helping with growth and impacting your child’s development. With that said, we have several Cerebral Palsy nutrition factors for our families to consider that can help highlight the importance of proper diet as well as give paths for success to parents.
First, Cerebral Palsy nutrition should be determined not by a list of vegetables or supplements but, instead, by professionals. Individuals with Cerebral Palsy benefit from having a team of specialists review their specific needs to ensure oral motor skills develop while core nutritional needs are met. A child’s ability to consume is also a key factor; without taking proper care, those with Cerebral Palsy may struggle, choke or worse on food provided.
That said, there are several facets involved in proper Cerebral Palsy nutrition:
Digestive Health – your child may already have a gastroenterologist dedicated to his or her health but children with Cerebral Palsy can experience a wide assortment of issues surrounding their ability to digest foods. Issues like acid reflux or Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) can also impact your child’s nutritional plan.
Dysphagia – if your child experiences problems swallowing, the food you select must be examined and chosen carefully. Failing to do so can not only lead to trouble swallowing but much more concerning problems.
Oral Health – often overlooked in light of the much more severe problems that a child with Cerebral Palsy faces, issues of oral health are still important. Whether it involves misaligned teeth (for biting), grinding, gum swelling, etc., be sure to include your child’s oral concerns when selecting foods.
To ensure your child has an effective Cerebral Palsy nutrition plan, consider nutrition and diet plan counseling and/or nutritional assessments and meal planning. Both of these efforts look to customize food efforts around your child’s unique needs and look to avoid a wide assortment of problems.
For more information on Cerebral Palsy nutrition planning, contact your pediatrician or health specialist for your options.