Thanksgiving brings to mind family, friends, traditions and food. At this time of the year, being thankful and grateful for what we have keeps us optimistic in a complex world.
Having cerebral palsy can sway some to complain and concentrate on all the things missing in their lives. However, despite the disease, there are many reasons to be thankful.
Be thankful for improved medical knowledge and advances. Medical conditions have improved immensely for babies who have disabilities. In the past 100 years, babies who were born with disabilities often died due to lack of medical knowledge and technology. In the past 40 years, the survival rate for babies born with a disability increased tremendously. Babies and young children can get physical, speech and occupational therapy to help improve the quality of their lives. The medical outlook for people who have disabilities is very bright compared with years ago.
Be thankful for the amazing technology and assistive devices that are being improved upon daily. Technology is absolutely amazing for anyone who has a disability, but especially those with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects fine and gross motor skills in both our hands and limbs. Lack of these motor skills contributes to lack of being able to write, talk, walk and other daily activities. E-readers, such as Amazon Kindle, helps someone with dexterity problems read books because holding a paperback book is impossible. Tablets help us write, communicate, bank, shop, work, socialize and many other activities very easily. Computers and laptops also have came a long way in assisting independence.
Thankful for inclusive education
Be thankful for the improved education system that hopefully includes all. Education has come a long way for those with cerebral palsy. No longer are we pushed into one classroom at the back of a class. Children with cerebral palsy are included as early as pre-school. Colleges, as well, are much more open to admit students with disabilities. Teachers are better equipped to help students with disabilities and finding better ways to teach. Students are more open to accepting friends with disabilities. Even school sport teams and student organizations are inclusive to differences.
Be thankful that employment is increasingly more accessible. Jobs are steadily becoming available to those with cerebral palsy, both online and offline. Fifty years ago hardly anyone with cerebral palsy was being hired. Now it is much more common. Unfortunately, the job market still has plenty of work to do to accept people with cerebral palsy. But, as a whole, getting a job or starting your own business has become more obtainable.
I am thankful for motorized wheelchairs that can be customized to our needs. My motorized wheelchair allows me to be comfortable and independent. I’m thankful for personal care services that allow me and many others to live healthy, independent and dignified lives. I am thankful to be married and have children because having a family wasn’t always easy to achieve with cerebral palsy. I am thankful for my friends and family who support and love me despite my challenges.
The next time that your spasms are out of control or someone is giving you a difficult time about your speech, try to think of everything to give thanks for. Those with cerebral palsy who lived hundreds of years ago would love to have what we have now. So smile, focus and continue to live your dreams.
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.