health

April 6, 2022

LINEO MABEKEBEKE

3 min read

Challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy

Challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy

Boitšepo Ponya is growing with cerebral palsy

Story highlights

  • A lot of attention and extra support needed to ensure wellbeing of child
  • A household with a special needs child is more prone to depression

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USUALLY, many parents with a disabled child worry about the future of their child. But Boitšepo Ponya’s family is different - they have positive thinking and great expectations of their child.

Otherwise, her mother Nthabiseng Molahloe says raising a child with cerebral palsy is not an easy task as Boitšepo needs a lot of attention and extra support to ensure that she is well.

Boitšepo was diagnosed with spastic type of cerebral palsy and this is the most common type in which people with the condition feel stiff and their movements may seem jerky.

Also, research indicates that a household with a special needs child is more prone to depression, suicide, financial strain and relationship challenges.

With this type, muscles appear stiff because the messages to the muscles are sent incorrectly through injured parts of the brain.

Although Boitšepo is eight years old, she is however still on nappies. She cannot walk, neither can she talk and her mother says the greatest challenge comes when it is time to eat or change nappies.

“Even the food she eats is not supposed to be hard and we have to cook two pots of different food,” said Nthabiseng, who only discovered after three years ago that her daughter had cerebral palsy.

She is no longer shocked having had to deal with her circumstances since she knew about it up to now.

Despite Nthabiseng’s challenges of raising a child with a handicap, she gets support from the Mo-Rate Cerebral Palsy Association, of which she is member.

Also, she said she could not have managed without the support of particularly Boitšepo’s father, her family, babysitter, and colleagues.

“Should anything happen with her while I’m at work, my colleagues and bosses understand that I need to attend to her problems immediately,” Nthabiseng said.    

Boitšepo’s father, Theodosius Ponya and the rest of the family also plan everything around her.

“We share responsibilities, and on top of it all, the child needs motivational and mental support to give her strength,” Nthabiseng said.

“It’s an expensive life as she needs medication, special food which is soft and other supporting tools.”

Growing up in size, Nthabiseng says Boitšepo is gaining weight and is supported by Theodosius to carry her around or to cerebral palsy meetings and workshops.

Challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy

Boitšepo Ponya and her father, Theodosius Ponya

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Challenges of raising a child with cerebral palsy

Boitšepo and her mother, Nthabiseng Molahloe

“She is my child, a gift from God,” said Theodosius. “I like everything about her, she is cool and is always happy and playful.”

He said the plan is to carry on supporting Boitšepo and work hard to afford her expensive life.

“We need to be there for her at all times and be actively engaged with all individuals and groups that work with cerebral palsy,” he also said.

“We aim to improve our learning and skills about cerebral palsy and how to handle Boitšepo well. We will seek advice from anyone or anything that can help heal or make her situation better.”

For fathers out there who are stuck with children with the same condition, he said they should be there for their kids, love them and accept the situation they were in.

“Be part of your wives, everyday of your children’s lives,” said Theodosius. 

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