Parenting is often highlighted as one of the hardest jobs anyone can take on. Parents of children with special needs, including Cerebral Palsy, have a very wide range of issues to tackle on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Even while doing your best with a child at home, parents must also consider school challenges, ongoing therapy efforts, IEPs, plans for the future and more! While a parent can be alone in this process at first, it’s also important to consider including your child as a partner in the years to come. With a check-in with your child, even at an early age, you can begin building a rapport over what’s working and the challenges he or she is facing when you’re not watching.
We’re obviously not here to ever tell you how to parent. How you choose to communicate and handle matters at home are up to you. Instead, we’re focused on suggesting tools that can be instrumental in your child’s success. By creating a time where your child, if able, can discuss their feelings or how effective therapy has been, you are establishing an additional avenue of discussion that didn’t exist before. This channel can, in turn, expose problems with therapists, bullies, IEP efforts, well-intended efforts that are not coming through properly and more.
So what do we mean by a check-in? Just as much as you might have a team meeting or a weekly progress check with a boss or employee, there can be important value in regular discussions with your child on how therapy and more is going. While it may not need an agenda or To Do list at the end, it can involve issues both within the home and in your child’s personal life. Far too many things can go unchecked or undiscovered due to a very understandable communication gap with your child. In short, a regular check-in ensures an environment exists where problems at school, therapy, in the home and more can be discussed.
So how do you go about setting up a check-in? While it sounds extremely formal or sterile (A CHECK-IN!), the goals and focuses above can also be handled with something as informal a time as family dinner. Having a regularly scheduled time to simply do something familiar and engage on topics general, as well as personal, can nurture an environment where your child (regardless of age) lets you in on their experience. An informal effort, as a result, might encourage more discussion than a true sit-down and, ultimately, help you help your child as a parent.
Ultimately, our goal with this idea is simply to help in the ongoing discussion, respect and tweaking that can come with a child’s efforts to overcome challenges associated with Cerebral Palsy. How you choose to monitor and improve those efforts is up to you. However, we do our best to serve as a partner in that journey through posts like this and through the resources we provide. For more information on how we can help you and your child connect with resources related to adaptive equipment, therapy, assistive technology, financial assistance and more, fill out our online form or call us at (800) 692-4453.