The life of any young adult is never easy. It can be an emotional time; figuring out relationships, deciding what direction to take, communicating with peers and all the rest is challenging for every young person. Living with cerebral palsy (CP) can add additional challenges but these can be overcome with the right guidance and support, allowing a young person with CP to enjoy life and find their place in the world.
Though CP is a neurological condition, it primarily affects motor function. That said, many people with CP also have some cognitive impairment resulting in intellectual disability, which can range from mild to severe. In the majority of cases, young people with CP are more than able to engage in higher education after leaving school, though planning and research will have to be done to find the right educational establishment.
People with CP who are capable of living independently may find that halls-of-residence are the ideal option when attending university or college. The proximity of such accommodation makes it much easier to get to classes and the young person will quickly make new friends who live very close by. By law, all educational establishments (indeed, all public buildings) must provide disabled access facilities so people with CP who use a wheelchair or other mobility aid will not struggle in this regard.
When it comes to social life, a young person with CP will have to deal with all of the same issues as every other young person: finding the right group, establishing relationships and fitting in. Young people today are far less discriminatory than previous generations and a person with CP will almost certainly face no problems when it comes to being accepted by their peers.
Becoming an adult is, as previously mentioned, a difficult time, especially when it comes to romantic relationships; it is no different for young people with CP. They will thus require the same guidance from parents and caregivers as any other young person does. Physical contact such as hugging, kissing or holding hands can be uncomfortable for some people with CP and so they should be taught to be comfortable and confident expressing their feelings in such matters.
The internet has opened up a whole new way of communicating and people with CP can benefit vastly from engaging in social activities online. Social media can help to forge strong relationships and improve communication, especially when the person with CP is prevented from engaging in real-time activities due to their condition. There are also many online communities and help groups especially for people with CP, where people with the condition can share experiences and give/receive advice.
Wearing garments such as vests, sleeves and gauntlets from the SDO® collection by Jobskin® can further improve the lives of young people with CP by helping to manage and control the symptoms of their condition. The design range consists of bright and colourful to more discreet options like beige and black, which can be worn underneath ordinary clothes without drawing attention. This empowers young people with CP to attend social events like proms without feeling conspicuous.