March is a very important and exciting month for cerebral palsy. March is cerebral palsy awareness month, and during March, we can educate, volunteer, and get to know people with the disability. Green is the color for cerebral palsy awareness so you should wear green for more than St. Patrick's Day.
First of all, what is cerebral palsy? Cerebral palsy is a condition that will affect otherwise healthy movements of someone's limbs overall body. With cerebral palsy, moving can appear to be stiff, jagged, or very active and sporadic. Movements in the right direction or the way the person wants can be challenging and takes a bit of patience.
I like to compare having cerebral palsy to 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 who have cerebral palsy learn how to adapt and have normal lives.
There isn't a cure for cerebral palsy as of yet. Medications are used by some to help control muscles and relax. Physical, occupational, speech and water therapy are used to gain strength, stretching, and overall quality of life. Adults who have cerebral palsy would benefit from these therapies greatly, but unfortunately, these are expensive therapies 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 who have this disability will have it 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 are different with unique personalities and styles to how they choose to live, work, and be independent.
According to CerebralPalsy.org, there are over 700,000 people living with cerebral palsy. Among them, only a small percentage also have intellectual and mental challenges. Sadly, people in society tend to treat anyone who has cerebral palsy as if they have an intellectual disability. The truth is that most people who have the condition also has normal to above average intelligence.
So, what can you do for cerebral palsy awareness month? No matter if you have cerebral palsy, know someone who has it or don't know anyone who has it, there is always something to be done.
Educate people about cerebral palsy. Because cerebral palsy affects everyone that has it so differently, there are many rumors and misunderstandings about it. Don't let people believe false information. If you hear something wrong, politely correct with factual information.
Don't fear people who have cerebral palsy. Involuntary movement and speech impediments might seem frightening if you don't understand. All it is is muscles not listening and responding differently. 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 your future spouse. Cerebral palsy is only what the person has and not what they are.
Volunteer to help individuals with cerebral palsy and 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 people who have disabilities. Tell employers to hire them and respect that workers with cerebral palsy will get the job complete even though adapted.
Consider working as a personal care attendant whenever you have time. Independence often means by the assistance of another person. If you can only do a few hours or the weekend - that is terrific. Earning extra money for helping others is fun and fulfilling.
Wear that green this month and never forget to say "Hello!!!"