How sport can unlock potential of children with cerebral palsy

1 in every 400 babies in the UK is born with a type of cerebral palsy according to the Office for National Statistics. For the family, having the right information and support is key to help children achieve their full potential in life.

In light of this issue, specialist solicitors Bolt Burdon Kemp launched the “Cerebral palsy. Advice for Parents” campaign, a comprehensive resource gathering advice from experts in the field. Providing information on the different aspects involved in caring for a child with CP, contributors include PACE — a leading charity supporting families of children with cerebral palsy, legal expert Caroline Klage, case manager Goksel Guner and Paralympian Sophia Warner.

To celebrate the launch of the hub, Paralympian Sophia Warner exclusively reveals her sporting recommendations for those living with cerebral palsy, those with children who have cerebral palsy, and those just wondering what benefits sport can bring to their own lives.

Exercise your way to happy thoughts

With an incredibly successful athletics career, having won silver at the 2011 World Championships and many other medals, Sophia swears by the benefits of sport in improving not only her fitness, but her overall quality of life. For the successful Paralympian, sport helps her physical wellbeing by keeping CP symptoms, like tight muscles and balance issues, at bay, and gives her mental state a boost, having a holistic effect on both mind and body.

“The things that I would miss without sport would be fitness, happiness and a strong mental state. […] It keeps some of my CP at bay i.e. tight muscles, fatigue and balance issues and this in turn makes me much happier. My mental state is also dramatically improved by being active”, states Sophia about the importance of sports in her life.

Disability has no limits. Motivate your child through sport

As a parent of a child with cerebral palsy, it can be challenging to motivate your child to reap the benefits of physical activity. While Sophia appreciates her parents’ ‘tough love’ approach helped her embrace sport with confidence and achieve her full physical potential, she advises parents to explore the many options available and find the sport activity that best suits their child’s ability and interests. In Sophia’s experience, it’s the family’s support and encouragement that matters most in giving a child the motivation they need: “All the most successful athletes that I met were not pushed by their parents, but they were supported and encouraged. It is all about finding something that your child wants to do every day and then being there to support them when you can.”

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