Working on the challenges cerebral palsy presents can seem tricky. We think about where the incentive to get better comes from. It seems like it would be easy to let cerebral palsy win, especially at a young age. Having parents around to help with things feels common for children. When a disability becomes involved the help could be more needed. The goal with a disability would be to become as independent as possible. Helping someone with cerebral palsy be as independent as possible seems to be helped with incentives. An incentive can be defined as a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something. There have been incentives in my life to encourage improvement of cerebral palsy symptoms. My trainer has a son who also has CP. A few weeks ago, we were talking about incentives to help his improvement. Physical activity seems to be the best way to help cerebral palsy symptoms. Bernard was talking about how playing the Nintendo Wii has been helping his son. He is beginning to teach him how to play, believing the physical nature of playing the Wii could help. It was just one of a few activities Bernard has spoken about that help his child. The conversation also had me thinking about my childhood. It left me wondering how many activities were used as incentives to help me improve.
An important factor in helping improve the cerebral palsy symptoms seems to be enjoyment. If the activity is fun, it is more likely to be done. So, something Bernard thinks about has been things his son might enjoy. The Wii has become something his son has started to enjoy. More specifically there is a boxing game he has been playing. Any game on the Wii seems like it would be good for CP. As the Wii games have incorporated full body movement. Boxing would require movements that could help him. The movement of arms with a specific target in mind is more difficult due to CP. The game would also require balance when moving the arms. Boxing also has agility involved, which would help Bernard’s son anticipate where his movements need to be. The game requires timing and coordinated movement. All of these movements work on things in the body that cerebral palsy has hampered. The most crucial part of playing any game would be enjoyment. It seems especially at a young age, it would be challenging to continue doing activities that aren’t enjoyable. With the enjoyment of the activity, it could also help improve cerebral palsy symptoms. The Wii has become something Bernard’s son has fun with, while improving his muscle movements.
With an excitement to play the Wii for his son, Bernard had something to work with. The boxing game could become an incentive. Bernard decided to take the motivation of playing the game and help his son. Something those of us with cerebral palsy struggle with is independence. Many physical tasks that are required in our world are made more challenging with CP. Some of these physical tasks might require help from others to be accomplished. Still, the goal remains to learn how to live as independently as possible. Bernard used the enjoyment of the Wii to get one step closer to the independence goal for his son. His son was relying on Bernard to get the game started for him. Starting the game required holding the controller in a position difficult for his son. So, Bernard would help his son begin the game when he wanted to play. The only hiccup with this process was knowing Bernard couldn’t always be around to assist his son in starting the Wii. The predicament made for a good situation to help his son move forward.
Noticing a good teaching opportunity seems to be a skill. The next step becomes knowing how to use the opportunity to help someone grow. Even though the process of getting the game started could be difficult for his son, it would be worth the battle. It’s an easy thing for me to relate myself with. There have been physical tasks throughout my life requiring extra effort. The situation often has me finding ways to accomplish tasks using extra patience. It may require me to slow the process down a bit. In the case with Bernard’s son, it seemed to ask for him to concentrate on something that wasn’t necessarily comfortable. Those situations with cerebral palsy are about slowing oneself down. The lesson becomes understanding a task could be more frustrating. Then, gaining the patience to take the challenge a step at a time. Bernard’s son did just that, he worked on how he could get the boxing game going independent of his dad. We learn with cerebral palsy often the repetition of a physical motion can make the motion easier to perform. So, his son continued working on it and eventually succeeded in the setup process of the game on his Wii. It was another lesson in perseverance for him. Some things might be more challenging, but with practice we can often find a way.
The joy found inside a particular task makes improvement possible to achieve. If pleasure can’t be found from achieving something, we seem less likely to take on the challenge. With age has come a better understanding of patience. The patience required to improve cerebral palsy symptoms. My incentive for improvement has often been more strength and stability. Like Bernard’s son wants to improve motor control to play the Wii, improvement of strength and stability has helped me continue my hobbies. Without the continued work on freedom of movement, things like golf could disappear from my life. So, golf serves as my lifelong incentive. Just as Bernard’s son takes on the challenges of getting the Wii started to play, I take on the challenges in the gym. The working out has to be accomplished for me to maintain the ability to play. Working out in the gym can bring on bouts of frustration, when things become difficult to accomplish. But, the full body movement of the golf swing helps improve CP. So, if I do the work to continue playing golf, it seems like my cerebral palsy continues to improve. Bernard’s son may have found something similar playing the Wii. The range of motion in playing the Wii could continue to help him improve CP. He might have found incentive in the games to help him improve the cerebral palsy challenges.
It seems important to find incentives in life. They can provide us with something to strive for. Incentives also help us overcome challenges we face. Those challenges aren’t always a disability. Incentives seem to help us achieve a variety of things by promoting hard work and discipline. The more joy we find with incentives, the more work we are probably willing to contribute. In listening to Bernard, finding the activities that bring his son joy is important. The activities can be the building blocks for improving cerebral palsy symptoms. Once his passions are found, Bernard can build around them to help improve the disability. As Bernard’s son grows, his passions will likely grow with him, becoming added to with time. My passions have been added to as well with age. But, I’ve held on to the ones beginning in childhood, which continue to help improve my journey with CP. Our passions, which become incentive, will hopefully continue to help Bernard’s son and I improve the challenges cerebral palsy presents in our lives.