One of the largest challenges to parenting a child with Cerebral Palsy is first meeting the child’s basic needs, then helping the child reach his or her fullest potential. Meanwhile, a parent or legal guardian is still successfully juggling all other roles and responsibilities. Most parents prefer to handle their own affairs, but when the family has a child with special needs, support from others is often welcome and appreciated.
Family members, friends, and neighbors are usually the first line of support. At times, professional support and specialized assistance may be needed.
Assistance arrives in many forms — a phone call from a family member; a coffee break with a friend; a Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, payment from the government; a donated wheelchair lift from a charity organization; help with an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, through the school system or support offered through the local community center.
A recent Pediatrics study concludes that a strong, supportive family unit, along with an extended network of support, influences a caregiver’s health while also benefiting the individual with special needs.
The primary purpose of many organizations is to serve the community and its members. The mission of many of these groups incorporates one or more of the following types of help: support, counseling, connections, activities, research, resources, information, equipment, advocacy, funding and more. Awareness of the organization’s mission and where their funding is allocated – as reported on their website and in their annual report – helps parents to understand what service the organization offers.