In Australia, cases of mental illness especially in children are very high. The most common type of mental illness among the young children is Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a neurological condition that mainly affects the movement of a person. Statistically, a child is born with Cerebral palsy every 18 hours in Australia. This implies that the number of people with the illness in the country is relatively high (Simmonds & Stevermuer 2007, p. 41). However, the fact that a child is born with Cerebral palsy does not mean that they will definitely die. Some health care steps are instituted to see to it that they live and make it to latter stages of life. The life of a child living with Cerebral palsy is discussed in the context of how the child is treated both at school and at home. This paper analyzes a case of Cerebral palsy especially in the transition from pre-school to primary school. The paper first analyzes how the parents can know the child suffers from Cerebral palsy before analyzing the reactions of the school and society towards the child. The search strategy adopted by the research included searching key words such as “Cerebral palsy in Australia” and “maternal health and pediatric care in Australia” in search engines like Google, and search tabs for ProQuest, EBSCOhost and Emerald databases. Scattered results related to Cerebral palsy and healthcare in Australia was obtained from which the most relevant articles were selected for this study.
16thJuly 2013 presented the latest case of transitional Cerebral palsy in Melbourne, Australia (Saunders 2006, p.3). A young child aged 6 went to school but the teachers demanded that the parents provide them with some guidelines on the transition process especiallyhow they needed to handle her at the school. Although this was the first case of Cerebral palsy that the school handled, such cases proved common in the country hence a system of guidelines became necessary on such cases. The first step is for one to understand the causes of Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy may occur because ofbrain injury of malformation of the brain. During pregnancy, a mother may engage in activities that are risky like heavyjobs, which may interfere with the brain of the child. During birth, dangerous birth methods, especially under no watch of a doctor may also injure the brain of the child. Poor child handling techniques during childbirth have been identified to be the major cause of this condition (Wake, Sanson, Berthelsen, Hardy, Misson, Smith &Ungerer, 2010).
Infections may also cause Cerebral palsy especially during pregnancy. Some illness affect the locomotive component of the brain hence the child develops the illness at birth. Some children however develop Cerebral palsy due to the shock of being born and the change of environment. There are four main types of Cerebral palsy. Spastic Cerebral palsy is one caused mainly by a problem in the muscle tightness of an individual. At the same time, when there is any damage to the cerebellum, it causes the second type of Cerebral palsy, which is Ataxic Cerebral palsy.The third type of Cerebral palsy is dyskinetic Cerebral palsy, which affects the upright posture of an individual. The diverse nature of the disease has presented challenge in its management (Zubrick, Smith, Nicholson, Sanson&Jackiewicz, 2011).
However, in extreme cases, one can experience mixed Cerebral palsy, which involves a combination of all the three types at varied intensities. It is the worst type since its diagnosis involves diagnosing all the other forms of Cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy has a number of clinical manifestations. The Cerebral palsy infests with disorganized and uncoordinated habit that is characterized by slurred speech, poor eyesight and hearing ability and awkward posture (Imms, Reilly, Carlin, & Dodd, 2009). However, these symptoms should be observed keenly as they may coincide with normal body coordination issues common in sick people. Cerebral palsy is not progressive disorder although the sigs become worse as the condition progresses. The intellectual ability of a person with Cerebral palsy may not be known until they start learning. In their early learning, people suffering from Cerebral palsy may find it hard to seek assistance but the people around them should understand and help them. They have a normal life expectancy hence there is no need to focus a lot of their instant recovery.
In management and adaptability strategy to the chronic and long-term illnesses, one needs enough information on the illnesses. Several search engines like Bing and Google, and can help an individual in finding the information. However, some websites also provide information that would help a person access such information. These includes websites such as such include http://www.cerebralpalsyaustralia.com and https://www.cerebralpalsy.org.au/. These sites enable a person to get information like the assistance that the teachers should give to the child to enable her settle into the school and the foods that such people must eat to manage the illness. Chronic illnesses in children give them lot of work in the adjustment process.Firstly, the children must adapt to the pain that comes with Cerebral palsy. Most of the teachers will not understand that the child suffering from the chronic illness is under pain from it hence advice must prevail when it comes to care for the child.
In adaptation to the Cerebral palsy, a child may first feel isolated from the rest of the group (Kildea and Stratagos, 2010).In most cases, the treatment that a child suffering from Cerebral palsy gets makes them feel like they have a different status compared to the other children in school which may hamper the adaptation process. In adapting to the chronic and long-term illnesses, a person must acclimatize to the medication they get. In most cases, the child may forget to take the medication, which may worsen the condition of the illness. It is the responsibility of people around the child to ensure they take the medicine as prescribed to them. Second, acceptance is the main point in adapting to chronic illnesses. Most of the children do not accept the fact that they suffer from the chronic illnesses and they often feel ashamed of their condition (Goddard, Davidson, Daly & Mackey, 2008).
Occupational therapists can also help the child to adapt to chronic and long term illnesses. When the child is allowed to recover and adapt on his own, chances are high that he will not know the essence of the adaptation process and may end up disrupting the whole process. However, if the parents or any other concerned parties get the child a therapist, it is easy for the child to recover as they get the best recovery guidelines from the therapists. Speech therapists may help in recovery and adaptation through the oral motor work, which enhances sucking and eating. This will facilitate communication, both through facial expressions and verbal cues, making speech as easy and intelligible as possible. In cases where the muscles make speech difficult for the child, speech therapists can teach use of an augmented communication machines or sign language.
The hardest part is adapting to the school environment. In the adaptation, first, the teachers and other students should help her adapt by not segregating her. At the early age, if the child is segregated, they will feel insecure hence they may find it hard to adapt. The child should also engage in a lot of play with the other children, which helps them to know that chronic illnesses do not make them inferior to the others. The strengths and weaknesses of the children with chronic illnesses function very well in their settlement. The child should exploit their strengths, through the help of the teachers. However, at this stage, the parent plays a key role in the adaptation and settlement of the child. They must provide the school with such information on the strengths and weaknesses of the child since they know them well having lived with them for a long time. At the same time, the teachers should help the child to better on her weaknesses, as they will help her not to dwell on the negatives much.
In settling into the school and the society as a whole, some factors will determine how well the child fits in the society. The first factor is acceptability from the parents. If the child feels that the parents have accepted her despite the illness that she has, she will recover and adapt faster because she has assurance of some love. However, if the child discovers that parents regret the fact that she has the illness, she will live in trauma hence she will not recover well. The second determinant of the recovery and adaptability of the child is the attitude of people in school about the child.Most of the people suffering from the chronic illnesses always have the question of how the people around them value them. Adopting healthcare strategies that incorporates various stakeholders including nurses and parents providing an effective model of addressing health related challenges within the Australian community (Durey, Wynaden, Thompson, Davidson, Bessarab&Katzenellenbogen 2012, p. 145). Teachers and other children will both play the same role as far as the acceptability of the child in school is concerned. In any case, the school environment should treat the child in a manner that builds her confidence in life.
The attitude of the child is a major factor in the adaptation and recovery process. One cannot adapt to any environment if they are motivated to adapt to it. The attitude of the child should be built at an early age by the therapists and the parents. In the early life stages, before the child goes to school, therapists and parents should encourage the child on her status and make her feel that it is not her fault to be in the situation (Downey, 2009). In such a case, the child will adapt faster to the limitations that come by the fact that she suffers from the chronic illness. Apart from her own attitude, the therapist plays a major role in the adaptation and acceptance of the child to the situation in the school environment. A therapist should help the child to alleviate the situation coming from the chronic illness while preparing the child for the life as she nurses the illness. Failure to prepare the child well will mean that the child does not accept other people’s reaction to her condition, whichslows down the recovery process (Kildea and Wardaguga, 2009). The type of illness is also likely to affect the adaptability. Some chronic illnesses are progressive and communicable while others are not. A child suffering from progressive and communicable illnesses may recover and adapt slower due to the trauma and fear of the other children opposed to the latter (Nicholson, 2006).
The school can help the child to adapt to the illness through the programs that they develop. The first program that the school can use to help the child is the leisure program. The child needs companionship and coping up more than other things in the school environment. In this context, the school should develop programs that cover the leisure needs of the child (Duwe, 2009). Firstly, in the leisure activities, the programs should ensure that the other children mingle freely with the child. This will make her feel part of the society, which will boost her recovery. Secondly, the leisure programs should help her in correcting the illness. This can be attained through guidance provided by the healthcare professionals as studies affirm that nurses are genuinely concern about the health of children and their families (Wilson, Ramelet, &Zuiderduyn2010, p. 1923).
The meal and dietary program can also be used by the school to help the child in her recovery. For people suffering from chronic illnesses, the food that the take determines whether they will adapt to life easily or not. The school should help the child to adapt to life faster through provision of foods that will allow the child to heal and feel part of the others. Most cases of Cerebral palsy lead to problems in posture and locomotive aspects of the children. Richard&Cloie (2013) highlights that a life care plan that comprises aspects such as diet and exercise are essential addressing the condition presented by the disabled children who are suffering from cerebral palsy.
Departmentalization is another way that the school would use in developing the adaptability of the child. People suffering from chronic illnesses recover and adapt faster when they have some people who specifically care for their needs. The reason why people need to come up and care for the needs of the people with chronic illnesses is that the other people may not understand every aspect of the illness (Lamb-White 2006, p. 2). The therapists should also have an avenue, which they can use to ease the life of the child at school. The school should utilize such a loophole and develop a department, which will take care of people with chronic illnesses.Initially, this move will develop the confidence of the child as she will develop the feeling that the school cares for her.These will go a long way in helping her interact with the rest of the school because she knows everybody recognizes and respects her position in the school.Furthermore, the child will adapt faster as the department can help in developing programs specific to the needs of the student (Larivière-Bastien, Majnemer, Shevell, & Racine, 2011).
As much as the school plays its part in helping the child adapt to the situations at school, the parent bears the final role as he/she interacts with the child more than the teachers do. The level of education of the parent will therefore determine whether the child recovers well or not. This happens in a number of ways. According to Laws and Sullivan (2010),the level of education helps the parent to know the strengths and weaknesses of the child. For children with Cerebral palsy, the spaces of their lives for other people to operate are their strengths and weaknesses. The parents must have enough education levels in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the child, as this is the only way they can help the child recover.
Furthermore, the level of education of the parent will help the parent in filling the acceptance gap. Whena parent delivers a child with a chronic illness, her dreams of a lovely and perfect child end immediately because they feel some unfairness towards them (Arshad et al 2012, p. 201). A parent with a low level of education sticks to the feeling of unfairness and keeps shifting blame regarding the situation. However, when the level of education of the parent is high, the parent will accept the fact that the child is ill and start caring for the child in her state. The level of education of the parent also affects the help that the parent seeks for his child. Delivering a child with a chronic illness is a call for the parent to approach a therapist to help the child adapt fast (Holman et al 2008, p. 767). However, when the parent has low education levels, they will not seek any help from a physician, which will negatively affect her adaptation.
Seeking help in terms of medication also comes with a high education level. A parent with a low education level will not bother to seek medical help and advice hence they may end up feeding the child on wrong foods, which will simply worsen the situation (Nogrady 2006, p. 3). Cerebral palsy is a common chronic illness in Australia as many children are born with the condition.However, the hardest time is the time when the children should go to school, an environment where people do not understand her. Transformation and adaptation to the school life may be hard but the parents, teachers and other children should help her to adapt. At the same time, the parents should access ample education in order for them to adopt the best care practices.
Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects child from birth especially due to injuries to the brain or problems in the development of the brain. It mainly affects the locomotive features of the body such as the arms, legs and sometimes the eyesight. In most cases, physiotherapists can help in solving the problem through offering advice and Medicare to the child. When the child goes to a learning institution, transition may challenge them hence the institution must provide an environment that permits the child to fuse into the environment well.
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