Children with motor impairments such as cerebral palsy, especially coupled with associated disorders, are at a heightened risk of developing depression. Depression rates are three to four times higher for people with disabilities, when compared to non-disabled people. As a parent or caregiver, it’s crucial to understand the signs of depression, including warning signals of when to get help immediately.
The Link Between Cerebral Palsy and Depression
According to a study published in The Scientific World Journal (Volume 2013, Article ID 468402), children with cerebral palsy or similar neurodevelopmental disorders are prone to psychiatric issues. One out of every two children with CP will meet the criteria for some form of psychiatric disorder, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) being the most prevalent. The study indicated that around 40% to 50% of school-aged children with cerebral palsy exhibit emotional and behavioral problems.
Children with cerebral palsy who exhibited depressive disorder and anxiety issues were generally on the same academic and functioning level of their peers. Researchers suggest that depression may manifest be due to having shortcomings because of their disabilities, as they probably had the same expectations in the classroom as other non-disabled kids.
Problems with peers seems to be a large factor in children with CP developing depression, specifically bullying issues. Bullying can happen at any age in school, but middle school tends to be the highest association of bullying, name calling, and ridiculing.
The study also indicated that overlapping conditions were overwhelming in children with CP who developed depression. For example, many of the children with depressive disorders also had ADHD and/or oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).
Symptoms of depression can vary greatly according to each child. While one child may exhibit sadness and isolation, another one may become easily irritated and angered. Biochemistry, genetics, personality, and the child’s environmental factors all play a part on how a child with depression will react.
Related Online Continuing Education (CE/CEU) Courses:
Depression is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides an overview to the various forms of depression, including signs and symptoms, co-existing conditions, causes, gender and age differences, and diagnosis and treatment options.
The Impact of a Life of ADHD: Understanding for Clinicians and Clients is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the many ways a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life.
Anxiety: Practical Management Techniques is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses
Professional Development Resources is a non-profit organization approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.