World Cerebral Palsy Day is tomorrow — Oct. 5, 2016. World Cerebral Palsy Day (click here) is a social movement for, with, and by individuals who have cerebral palsy and is designed to spread awareness. The vision for the social movement is that every person with cerebral palsy is treated with dignity, respect and access to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
The special day was started in 2012 with co-operation between the Australian and U.S. cerebral palsy alliances and organizations. Now, more than 400 organizations participate, and it unites the world about awareness. Indeed, people from all over share their stories and hopes for change in the social arena with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most misunderstood disabilities that exists, yet it’s the most common childhood one. A lack of oxygen before, during, and after birth are the most common causes, with the severity ranging from a single limb being affected to someone’s complete body requiring assistance 24 hours a day.
Unfortunately, the more severe the physical disability, the more society tends to believe that those affected have mental problems as well. However, actually, only a small portion of the cerebral palsy population has mental challenges. Most just have difficulty with controlling muscles, speech, and in some cases also have epilepsy.
The realistic view about people who have cerebral palsy is quite beautiful — when stigma and assumptions aren’t in the equation. Those people are smart, funny, creative, and fascinating individuals. They have children, marriages, jobs, friendships and families. Not everything in life is perfect because that is life as well, but cerebral palsy doesn’t stop those who have it from living.
Advocates of World Cerebral Palsy Day narrowed down six areas that society needs to work toward in social awareness:
Public awareness — This is simply understanding what cerebral palsy is and what it isn’t. We would like people to release the stigma attached to those who have it, and that they be accepted as friends, co-workers, partners, in relationships, parents and full citizens.
Civil rights — These rights should be granted to those who have cerebral palsy, globally. Governments need to not only see people as citizens, but also not take rights away because of the disability. For example, when people are married, often basic healthcare and personal assistants are taken away based on income.
Medical and therapeutic — The best medical and therapeutic information needs to be provided to medical professionals, in order to help those who have cerebral palsy.
Quality of life — This goes beyond basic human needs. Quality of life must bring people friendship, social interactions, love, and the chance to enjoy life to the best of their capabilities.
Education — To give all educators the knowledge and support to be able to teach children with cerebral palsy with respect and the tools that they need for a bright future.
Contribution — That each person with cerebral palsy has a right to contribute to society through employment as well as artistically, financially, politically, and socially. By not allowing this to happen, society is missing out on a large portion of human input.
To help celebrate in Word Cerebral Palsy Day, share your story and advocate. No longer be ignorant about it; learn to accept it. Everyday someone who has cerebral palsy is hoping that more people will understand, and be open to their limitless possibilities instead of just their limits.