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Communicating with the child

Children with cerebral palsy tend to receive information about their condition on a piecemeal basis. What they are told is likely to depend on their age, the severity of their disability and their cognitive abilities and emotional status.

Clinical experience and parent reports suggest that children with hemiplegia who adjusted well were satisfied by relatively simple explanations of their condition when they were young. Straightforward information, such as being told they were born too early so their brain did not develop fully meaning that messages do not get through to certain parts of their body, was found to be favoured. Most did not want complex information about the area of the brain affected or what had happened to them in the past. They were more interested in their future prospects.

It is important that when the child is older they are told directly about their condition and have the opportunity to ask questions. Many adults with CP have never had this opportunity and are consequently worried and anxious.

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