Reading and your Child with Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy affects children in a variety of ways. The full spectrum includes physical, emotional, social and adaptive development, but it also includes intellectual factors as well. Helping your child grow intellectually can include reading, making your child’s literacy contingent on how Cerebral Palsy impact him or her. Rather than dive into the science of factors causing challenges in reading, we would instead like to walk through options that exist to help your child.

First, parents must feel comfortable with the fact that their child living with Cerebral Palsy may not hit the same milestones as children who did not suffer a brain injury. Early intervention programs exist to help limit the impact CP has on your child’s ability to, among other things, read and are, thus, extremely important. Exploring options, ranging from technology to therapy and more, can help your child’s brain learn new ways to achieve reading results, making new neural connections to reach goals.

Parents should not shy away from building momentum through books and materials that match the child’s ability, not their age. While this can create frustration, overwhelming a child with material that is too advanced can cause more frustration than development. Work with your child to find books and materials on subject matters that interest him or her also – doing so can help on an emotional level to maintain interest while learning.

Because there are so many factors involved in Cerebral Palsy, parents must also remember there may be an emotional barrier that is contributing to what appears to be an intellectual challenge. Speaking to your child about reading, what they enjoy about it and what they dislike can help in adapting efforts. A child with CP may run low on energy in the evening, making a late ‘reading practice’ program more ineffective than if it was handled earlier in the afternoon or possibly in the morning.

One great component behind technological advances is the meld of audio and video that exists in easily handled devices. Many apps and videos have subtitles to audio cues, helping connect words to sounds in an engaging, interesting way. Assistive technology is just one of the resources parents of children with Cerebral Palsy should look into; if you are interested in finding out what tech your child may be entitled to, contact us today.

Ultimately, your best advice is going to come from a professional who has worked directly with your child and knows their core challenges and abilities. The items included here are intended to be a starting point for you to navigate the long road ahead. However, the care team at MyChild has a keen interest in helping be a partner in your child’s reading success. Call us at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE or reach out online to find out what programs exist to help your child reach milestones and advance past barriers caused by Cerebral Palsy.