Teenagers are considered some of the riskiest people in the human population. As a result, those in their teens are more likely to have a spinal cord injury than anyone else in the general population. While this is difficult enough, not enough attention is paid to the parents who also suffer when their teen becomes injured. Very often these parents are completely lost despite getting advice from medical doctors and nurses. It’s a major life change and all you want is for your child to get better, but sadly that is not likely. Here is some of our best advice for parents with a newly injured teenager to help both your teen and you.

The Importance of Hiring a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice Attorney

Hiring a personal injury attorney or a medical malpractice attorney is important after suffering a spinal cord injury. Such legal experts possess the specialized knowledge and experience needed to navigate the complex and often daunting legal landscape associated with these types of injuries. They can conduct a thorough investigation to determine liability, whether it be a negligent driver in a personal injury case or a medical professional’s malpractice in a medical malpractice case. They will work to secure fair compensation to cover medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation, lost wages, and the extensive long-term costs associated with spinal cord injuries. These attorneys are also crucial in advocating for the victim’s rights and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable. These attorneys help in ensuring not only that justice is served but also that the injured person receives the financial assistance required for their recuperation, rehabilitation, and improvement of quality of life.

Getting Involved in the Disability Community

One of the most important things you can do is to have both your teenager and you get involved in the disability community. Meeting other people with disabilities and not being the “odd one out” so to speak can help immensely when socializing. It can also teach important life lessons without saying a thing, like how to accept and love your life despite a disability. A popular activity for newly injured teenagers is adaptive camps. There are dozens of nonprofits across the country offering this opportunity. Otherwise, getting involved in the research community can help as well.

Be Aware of How You Talk about Them

How you refer to your teenager’s disability and body is crucial after their injury. We all know words have immense power, and that is especially true with how you speak about your teens. It is important to strike a balance between truly not caring that they have limitations and uplifting them. Make sure you talk about them with positivity and let them know that if they set their mind on something, they can achieve great things.

Emphasize Needing Care is Not a Failing

If your teenager has an injury where they’ll need a caregiver, make sure to let them know that just because they need caregivers does not mean they failed in rehabilitation. Most people do not fully recover from their spinal cord injury, and it’s important to relay this information to your teens. However, let them know that they could become more independent with their independent living skills as the years progress.

Get Involved in Adaptive Sports

Just like getting involved in the disability community, getting involved in adaptive sports or any adaptive recreational activity can have huge benefits for both you and your teenager. Not only is the physical aspect of adaptive sports addictive, but it’s also a great way to get in touch with the disability community. Sit-skiing, rugby, archery, the sports are endless and competitive.

Activity-Based Therapy/Water Therapy Long-Term

It’s important to remain positive regarding your teenager’s recovery years after their injury. Many people report sporadic spontaneous generation with continual physical therapy, especially activity-based therapy, which helps move the entire body. Water therapy is another excellent form of therapy to encourage your teenager to do. It has amazing benefits that are physical and mental. Look into your local YMCA if there is no rehabilitation pool nearby that you can visit on a regular basis.

Find a Good Doctor & Support Team

With a spinal cord injury, there are many issues that only a doctor can take care of, which means it is critical that you find a family practice doctor for your teenager that responds quickly and positively. Having an upbeat care team from your doctors to nurses is important. You will depend on them when facing insurance denials, which can often happen when getting equipment approved, and you will depend on your doctor to answer questions about medications, bladder care, physical and occupational therapy, etc.

Look Into Family Therapy

Mental health is a huge concern that’s often overlooked after a spinal cord injury, notably PTSD. A great way to make sure it’s not pushed to the wayside is to get involved in family therapy as soon as you’re ready. Oftentimes, people do individual therapy sessions which can be helpful, however with teenagers with spinal cord injuries living at home, having family therapy sessions together can help immensely.

Try Peer Support

There are several spinal cord injury organizations across the country that offer peer support, with the Reeve Foundation offering one of the biggest free peer support programs for both your teenager and you. You can even connect with peer support virtually if you live far from others with spinal cord injuries. Connecting your teen with another teenager who is injured can have huge benefits on their perspective and hope for their future as well. The same also goes for caregiver/parent peer support sessions.

Adaptive Video Gaming

Despite the negative side effects of playing video games, the world of adaptive video gaming has opened the doors to people of all spinal cord injury levels, even those who have no arm movement. Thanks to the invention of Quadstick, people with zero arm and finger movement can play video games just as good as anybody else. And if your teen is struggling with socialization, this is a great idea too since online gaming is a great way to make new friends.

Take Care of Yourself

As a parent of a teenager with a spinal cord injury, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. There are dozens of parent support groups that you can check out. Talking to other parents who understand what you’re going through is priceless. And keep in mind that your teenager will be happy for you as well. The healthier you are, both physically and mentally, the better your teenager’s life will be.