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“Hello my name is Kimberlee, and I have Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy.” The shock factor on people’s faces when I say this is priceless.
A recent conversation with some blogger friends of mine had me thinking about my life with Cerebral Palsy. There were some comments made about how I live my life and how they didn’t know people with Cerebral Palsy could live a productive life. None of these comments were rude, they just gave me a chance to tell them that life with Cerebral Palsy can be fulfilling.
As I go through out my day I always try to encourage other people. I have a support system that encourages and uplifts me when I need it. I realized that when people see me they don’t always know that I have CP. Here are 5 misconceptions that people seem to think about Cerebral Palsy. There are way more than 5, but these are the most common ones that I hear from people.
People with Cerebral Palsy can’t walk. Absolutely not true. Some of us can’t walk, others can. I used to wear ankle foot orthotics (AFO/leg braces) for years, 16 to be exact. I no longer use them but I do have to use my cane at times. There are some of us that will use crutches, a walker or some other type of walk-aid to help them.
People with Cerebral Palsy can’t communicate. Umm…. Hello!!! We can communicate just fine. We just have different ways of communicating. Oftentimes we are unable to speak, some people even use specialized equipment to communicate with others.
We cannot attend mainstream schools. I attended mainstream schools, in fact started kindergarten in a wheelchair because I was recovering from surgery on my Achilles tendon. Oftentimes we will attend mainstream schools just with some help whether it be care aide, a therapist or even no help at all. Each case is different.
Our family life is sheltered. Our life isn’t sheltered. We just have an extremely supportive family that helps us out all the time. Some of us need more help than others. Some of us choose to live on our own as adults and others choose to stay with family. We’re all different and we go through so many obstacles everyday that sometimes it’s just easier to stay within your comfort zone.
We are unique people who live life to the best of our ability. Our disability may be the same but it affects us all differently. We notice the stares, we see when you point and whisper too. It’s okay to ask questions, if we don’t answer our caregiver will. Cerebral Palsy isn’t contagious, but our smiles are.