To the medical professionals helping me with cerebral palsy

To a medical professional who is caring for someone with cerebral palsy 

During my life, I have had to see numerous medical personnel due to being sick or normal well check ups. Unfortunately, doctors and nurses do not understand how to properly communicate and care for someone with cerebral palsy.  In an emergency situation, not knowing what to do can quickly turn into a life or death situation.

Here are some suggestions that I believe will help if you're giving someone a check up, mammogram or any medical attention when you have a patient with cerebral palsy.

Don't assume you know everything. You don't know if the person has a mental challenge or a genius IQ. Stop talking to them like they are a child or talk loudly as if they were deaf too. They deserve the same respect as anyone you help or give service to. No need to treat them any different until you know their capabilities.

Talk to them. Often a person with cerebral palsy might have a personal care attendant, friend or family member with them.  But you should direct questions or directions to the person you're caring for. It's very impolite to go in and talk to everyone else but the patient. 

Not all people who have cerebral palsy have it the exact same way. How cerebral palsy affects someone varies from person to person. Some people might be stiff while others might have involuntary movements.  Some can walk and some can't.  It all depends on the person. Ask them how cerebral palsy affects them before guessing.

Please don't say, "sit still," to someone who has cerebral palsy. Sitting still can be extremely difficult and not a choice.  The more you ask someone to sit still, the more the body reacts by moving. Explain what you're going to do and try to work together to make it work. Ask if they have ideas on positioning to help make it more comfortable.

Listen to the patient even if they have a speech impediment.  Speech impediments happen to people who have cerebral palsy. It doesn't mean that they don't know what they're saying or not comprehending. It means that you need to listen and be patient so you understand what they need, think and feel.

Don't assume someone with cerebral palsy doesn't have children, work, marriages, and hold normal lives. Cerebral palsy doesn't affect child birth or the reproductive system. People with cerebral palsy are just people with a body that responds differently in motion. Plain and simple.


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