This is a parent’s worst nightmare and it is often compounded by the next words from the doctor’s mouth. “He will have cerebral palsy. This means he probably will not walk, talk or attend a normal school. We will have to wait and see how bad it will be.” If you were told this in the difficult early days, it is almost impossible to get rid of it. It lurks about at the back of your consciousness and even years later, many parents are still waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. The big question persists. How bad will it be?
So, take a big breath and relax. This is an outdated, incorrect statement. The boy with the extensive brain damage shown in the image, did develop cerebral palsy, but it was mild. GMFCS I. There have been big changes in the cerebral palsy world over the past 20 years or so. The first change is the growing awareness of neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to regrow, repair, reorganize and reallocate resources to create function. read…Real or False Hope after Early Brain Damage?
Once the regenerative ability of the brain is recognized, then new approaches and treatments are possible. We now know that neuroplasticity is stimulated by novel, challenging tasks with consequences. Great news…but it comes with a catch. It demands a major change in the mindset of doctors, therapists and educators in the CP world. It really demands a shakeup of their worldview. I hope that parents everywhere are encouraged to talk about my book and even consider it as a great holiday present for their healthcare team. The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk: Understanding Neuroplasticity in the Child’s Brain , is the story of the long road to my own mindset change from thinking that the only option was to prevent baby brain injury to the new mindset of challenging the negative prognosis with innovative approaches and treatments. Dr Dweck’s book, Mindset, is another of the must read books in my parent survival kit.
I have a question for you. Were you given a similar dismal prognosis? If yes, I would love to hear your story on my Facebook group.