Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects muscles and movement. The condition is a neurological disorder diagnosed in infancy and early childhood. The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary from child to child, from mild to severe. One of the most taunted tactic to handle the situation is to create a good stimulating environment that supports your child’s abilities while challenging him/her gives a sense of fulfillment when a task is done properly. As you do this, you need to keep a positive mindset and environment when engaging in all activities.
Teenage years are a time when adolescents are focused on their future. Teens with cerebral palsy are no different. Any way that you can improve the quality of life and make a child more self-reliant is a great step. By being more independent a CP teenager becomes more confident to tackle challenges.
For teens, it is important to have hobbies and interests. Pay close attention to any way your child may be inclined, and incorporate your child’s interests in any activity. This will make it appealing and increase the attention span, have more fun with your child and bonding. The greatest achievements are reached when you combine laughter and learning. Besides ensuring that your child is engaged well in their time, structured activities can help you identify talents and develop further the muscular and cognitive abilities of your child.
Before starting any activity with a Cerebral Palsy teen, it is vital that you create a safe environment for the child and have support where required. Anticipate the needs of the child in terms of support and see to any arising need that they may have. Observe keenly how the teen is stimulated but remember to enjoy the process.
Here are 12 activities for a cerebral palsy teen to improve social interaction muscle tone and cognition.
- Board games
Board games are a great way kill boredom whether indoors or outdoors. There is a great variety of board games for teens with cerebral palsy. These can incorporate several players from the social setting by having different players in groups. A great way for your teen to hang out with friends. It’s also a fantastic way for family to spend quality time.
This is a great way for expression and experimenting. You can model lightly using papers and glue to model different items. However depending on the level of your child gradually include more ambitious models using clay and sand. There are examples of successful people with cerebral palsy who have thrived in pottery and art making.
- Painting and drawing
The level of disability dictates this activity; a canvas and some paint brushes and let their imagination roll. It may take a while to complete a painting and draw; patience is key. Holding a paint brush or gripping a pencil will help them develop their muscle strength.
This is great way for a teen to indulge in their hobbies. Collectors’ items include photographs, paintings, art pieces, toys, stamps, music, scrapbooking etc. Create opportunities to find their specific collections and grow them. Let them show off their collections at school, home or on social media.
- Jewelry making
Using an assortment of beads and strings gives a chance to develop hand eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Making simple jewelry like necklaces and bracelets that you can wear or eventually sell to earn a buck. Another way is by helping your teen to make simple decorations, wall hangings and mats that can be used at homes or schools using simple materials.
Form a book club at school or in your estate for teens who love reading to discuss and enjoy reading. Encourage literature lovers to read by providing any materials needed. Every so often take a trip to the local library for book reading sessions and enjoy intellectual talks to encourage them to read more.
- Storytelling and poetry
Joining a storytelling or poetry club is a fun way for the teen to gain confidence, from simple story narrations to poetry indulging in artistry of words can increase language competence. Gaining a space for verbally challenged teens in this activity is however limited but is great for family settings.
- Singing and dancing
Music is a therapy that calms down stress and reduce anxiety. For a cerebral palsy teen cool music can soothe, develop language, help memorize and teach. Sing along to your favorite tunes when performing everyday tasks and chores, choose soothing music when your child is stressed as loud music can cause aggression.
Playing an instrument can play a great role in developing your teen’s expression. Working with their hands improves the fine motor skills exceedingly. Dancing along to the music makes it more enjoyable. Do not get uncomfortable when your child doesn’t express the words well, allow them time to enjoy the music. Singing can be with others to improve social participation. It’s suitable for severe CP teens as they can do it with minimal support.
These give the perfect opportunity to be outdoors. For any game or sport you wish to participate, ensure that it is modified to suit the participants. Check on their specific disability and ensure they are included. Deliberately include cue and extra time to allow your cerebral palsy child complete the task. Be sure to celebrate the victories.
Being outdoors gives a chance for a child to appreciate nature. You can take your child camping or find a camp that can accommodate your child’s special needs. Allow the child to get into nature and see the leaves, trees and birds. Experiencing the sights and sounds of nature stimulates the senses. Family camps are an awesome opportunity for the families to bond with nature and each other, learn new species and experience the outdoors. Recreational camp where the kids link up and enjoy peer’s company. You could also organize an educative day camp for kids with common interests so that they can assist and appreciate each other.
As your teen is developing his / her interests, expose them to as much of the world as they are comfortable. They will be able to identify and widen their scope of interests as opposed to spending their time cooped up. Exposing them to different cultures and scenery peaks the curiosity. However you should take caution to not overload the child so you should take small breaks. Ask for assistance where needed. There are many places you can visit including national parks, game reserves, beach scenery and resorts.
It is important to double check the suitability of a facility for wheelchairs and ramps, restroom facility in case you plan to tour. You can book before travelling from staff to be informed and more open to help.