In March, we can educate, volunteer, and get to know others with CP. Green is the color for cerebral palsy awareness, so you should wear green on more than St. Patrick’s Day.
For the uninitiated, let’s shed some light on cerebral palsy. It’s a condition that affects movements of the limbs and overall body. With cerebral palsy, moving can appear to be stiff, jagged, or very active and sporadic. Moving in the right way, or right direction, can be challenging and take patience.
I like to compare having cerebral palsy with faulty wiring in a computer. You might hit Enter, but the computer thinks you’re hitting the Delete key. As you can guess, this is frustrating, but people with cerebral palsy can learn to adapt and lead normal lives.
There’s no cure for cerebral palsy yet. Some of those who have it use medications to help control muscles and relax. Physical, occupational, speech and water therapy are used to gain strength, be able to stretch, and improve overall quality of life.
Adults with cerebral palsy would benefit from these therapies, but unfortunately, they are expensive, even if covered under health insurance.
Cerebral palsy can’t fit into a one-size-fits-all box. There are several types of cerebral palsy. with many variations. No two people with the disability will have it in the exact same way.
Some cannot walk, while some can run. Some cannot speak, while some have the clearest speech you will ever hear. All patients are different, with unique personalities and different styles for choosing how to live, work, and be independent.
CerebralPalsy.org says over 700,000 people live with cerebral palsy. Among them, only a small percentage have intellectual and mental challenges as well as physical challenges.
Sadly, people in society tend to treat anyone with cerebral palsy as if they have an intellectual disability. The truth is that most people who have the condition have normal to above-average intelligence.
So what can you do for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month? Whether you have cerebral palsy, know someone who has it, or don’t know anyone with it, there is always something you can do.
Educate people about it. That’s because cerebral palsy affects everyone who has it so differently that there are many rumors and misunderstandings about it. Don’t let people believe false information. If you hear something wrong, politely correct the person who provided it with factual information.
Don’t fear people with cerebral palsy. Involuntary movement and speech impediments can seem frightening if you don’t understand the condition. All it is, is muscles not listening and responding differently from the way they should.
No need to stare or pull your children away. Just say, “Hello, how are you? “
Who knows? You might find a best friend, teacher, mentor or even a future spouse. Cerebral palsy is what a person has. It is not a statement about who they are.
Volunteer to help those with cerebral palsy or other disabilities. Call around or check online for where to volunteer your time.
Spread the word on cerebral palsy. Don’t allow others to feel sorry for those with disabilities. Tell employers to hire them and to understand that workers with cerebral palsy can get the job done, even though they may have to adapt to do it.
Consider working as a personal helper when you have time. A person with cerebral palsy can become independent with another’s assistance. If you can only do a few hours or help on a weekend, that is terrific. Earning extra money by helping others can be fun and fulfilling.
And a final reminder: Wear that green this month, and never forget to say hello.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.