Cerebral Palsy
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How to talk to my 3-year-old grandson about his CP?

chrissie114chrissie114 Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited January 2020 in Cerebral Palsy
I’m asking for advice about how to talk to my 3 year old grandson. He has CP and has learned to walk in the last 6 months, brilliant! But his little nursery friends are beginning to ask questions about why he can’t walk properly. He has a “typical” very stiff legged gait and after using a Walker for a while he now makes tremendous effort to get about by himself. He himself isn’t yet aware that he isn’t the same as everyone else. Has anyone else discovered words to be able to prepare him for challenges and also to accept that he is a bit different from his classmates?


  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,653 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @chrissie114 and a very warm welcome to the community! It's so lovely to hear that your grandson has start to walk, that's great!

    I have CP and I've always known that. When I was younger my mum said my legs didn't work properly because I was poorly as a baby. For me this was enough while I was in the early stages of primary school.

  • Richard_ScopeRichard_Scope Posts: 2,774

    Scope community team

    I agree with my colleague @Chloe_Scope.  Keep it nice and simple. My mum told me that my legs didn't work the same as everybody else because I was poorly when I was born. 
    Specialist Information Officer - Cerebral Palsy

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  • April2018momApril2018mom Posts: 2,869 Member
    Hello and welcome @chrissie114

    This has been on my mind recently too. I think it is important to be honest and positive as well. Focus on what the child can actually do. I have answered all questions on a need to know basis. For example, if we are in a rush to catch a train, then I do not answer any questions. I don’t pretend my son has nothing that is unrealistic. And not appropriate either. It sends a really bad message. 

    But if we are at a party or restaurant etc I give the person who asked a simple explanation that is short and truthful. I think it is important to act as a positive role model as much as possible. Especially if you have children. Try using sentences like “You can do that” and “You are more than your impairment or disability”.

    Both of which I tell my son each day. I want him to know that he has spina bifida but not give up completely either. How do I do that? Are there any books or tips that could make my task a bit easier? Many thanks in advance! You could always consider raising awareness. 

    If it helps, I found a article on talking to children about disability https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-disabilities-4142349

  • WestHam06WestHam06 Member, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,333 Pioneering
    Hi @chrissie114
                              Welcome to the community and thank you for joining us. It is so great to hear that your grandson is walking and you say he makes a tremendous effort to get around by himself which is wonderful and shows he has determination which is a terrific quality to have. I agree with both @Chloe_Scope and @Richard_Scope, I have CP and when I was younger my parents explained that my legs didn't work as well as others because I was poorly as a baby. Keeping it simple at a young age is useful and there are ways to introduce disability to children such as in books. I hope this helps. Thank you. 
  • chrissie114chrissie114 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thank you all so much for your support and really helpful suggestions. I don’t want him to be apologetic for his disability, so what your saying makes a lot of sense. He’s still doing really well, I’m so proud of him. 
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 8,606 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @chrissie114 - I'm pleased that others with CP have advised & have helped you. After I qualified as a physio (a long time ago!), I worked with children that had CP, so have a little understanding from a different view point. I also have a genetic disorder, but perhaps strange to say I don't consider myself disabled, altho it has impacted on my life.
    Children know no different if they have a genetic disorder, so your grandson just is who he is. CP doesn't define him, it's just something he has. Other children might just as easily pick up on that another child is 'different' because they wear glasses, so don't worry until he himself might ask questions. Then go with the suggestions above.
    He certainly sounds like someone to be proud of; you've got a great grandson, & he has a great Grandma!
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