Friday, April 21, 2017

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think about your disability at all. Then, when you least expect it, society reminds you of how different people in society can really view you. I find myself in that situation more often than I care to admit. I'm discovering that moments like these can be painful but also reminds us that disability education and awareness are still very much needed.


  1. I wake up and get ready to enjoy a leisurely weekend day at the mall. I'm all set to check out the deals and just have a nice day.  As I'm strolling a long, I see an adorable child standing in the aisle having fun. All of the sudden, as I come closer, the parents grab the child forcefully by the arm and say, "get out of the way or you will get run over!" I try to smile or make light of the situation because I find it so ridiculous.  I would never hit a child with my wheelchair. I can see them and will maneuver away from them like I do anyone else. And there is the reminder that I am different in society.
  2. I go to a restaurant with my husband, and we're having a fun time. The waiter purposely does not give me a menu so we have to ask for one.  We guess that they think that I can't read. When the waiter returns to take our order, they forget to realize that I'm a person who can order for myself. They don't look at me and ask, "what does she want?" This attitude in restaurants are more common than what you might realize. It makes me remember once again how different I'm viewed in society.
  3. I am excited to go on a job interview for a teaching position. I wear my professional clothes and have my portfolio organized. I feel butterflies in my stomach but ready to show them why I would be an excellent candidate.  I pull up to the school administration and see a accessible door open button.  After I go inside, I'm greeted by steps in a public school building!  The administrator decides it is okay to interview me as he sat on the steps as people walked in and out of the building. 
  4. I wake up and plan a fun day out with my children. We all get dressed and set to enjoy a day out.  While we are at a store and ready to make a purchase, my daughter helps me get out my credit card so we can buy some things.  Then the stares start and then we hear how she's my helper and more sympathetic stares. Or people ask if we are friends because they can't wrap their minds around the fact that someone in a wheelchair can have a child.
  5. When I was pregnant, I had a miserable cold. I went to my local pharmacy and wanted to ask the pharmacist what medications would be safe for my unborn baby. I couldn't figure out why he looked at me like I was crazy. Then I realized that he had a difficult time understanding that I was pregnant and had cerebral palsy.



Society has gotten much better in understanding people with disabilities but still have a way to go.


Originally published by Jessica Grono on Cerebral Palsy News Today 

 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mommy walks on wheels

I've been giving talks about disabilities for as long as I can remember. But nothing has been more difficult than looking in my son's eyes and having to explain why mommy can't walk like everyone else.  Up until the age four, he has just accepted my cerebral palsy as natural as could be without a question or doubt. Instead of asking me why can't I walk, he would just try to command it - "Mommy, walk!"

I tried my normal dialogue that had worked with so many children.  Jason wasn't accepting it so it was time to be creative.  I thought about the things that Jason could relate to.  Right away I thought about cars because he has loved them since he was four months old. I explained that Mommy's brain is like an engine in a car except my engine operates differently than the rest. Mommy's engine tells the legs to move differently so mommy needs to walk on wheels.

Like a light bulb, Jason's face lit up with love and understanding.  He got it and was relaxed. Now he is open to talk about it more and ask questions.  I also crawl on the floor with my knees. Jason said, "Mommy's engine also says to walk on her knees!"
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

20 Things To Do With Your Kids That They Will Love

Children aren't very complicated as we make them to be. They are learning constantly and their future is shaping right in front of us. Adults tend to believe that we need to over schedule or over indulge children.  Or, sometimes parents just give the kids technology and hope they're quiet. But really children only require the basics and they can grow up happy.  Here are ten things that are really super fun for them.

  1. Talk to them. No need to lecture, yell or give orders all of the time.  Talk about your childhood, dreams, your life, secrets etc. Just be you and share.
  2. Tuck them in bed. Read a story, sing a song, giggle, pray.
  3. Let them snuggle with you to watch a favorite tv show.  Share a soft blanket.
  4. Be involved in their life.  Keep up on their grades, ask them how they're feeling, highs and lows of the day.
  5. Play with them. Put down the phone and technology to play. Build a house, play dolls, cars, be silly.
  6. Let them play outside.
  7. Cook healthy and good meals. Include them in the cooking.
  8. Smile and tell them how happy you're to have them.
  9. Say I love you more than anything. 
  10. Discipline fairly and not physically.
  11. Hug them each morning and whenever they leave you.
  12. Dance together.
  13. Go on a spontaneous walk.  
  14. Be nice to others.
  15. Always let them know you value them because they have more value than anything else on Earth.
  16. Discover what they like to do, eat, think and dream.
  17. Live your life happily.
  18. Compliment them each day.
  19. Help them with homework.
  20. Do housework as a team.   
 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

10 Ways To Motivate Keeping Rooms Clean


Motivating my children to clean up isn't always the easiest. But teaching them how to clean is so important for helping you manage your home and to learn life lessons. As I write this, my daughter had to take a nap all of a sudden instead of cleaning her room.  So, I'm no expert, however, I have had success and still learning to have more success too.


  1. Keep it simple - Anyone gets overwhelmed seeing a complete disaster. Break it down by doing the easy part first, like trash and laundry, and go from there.
  2. Be a role model - Keep your area clean especially your room. If you don't keep clean, your children will not want to or think that they should keep theirs clean. 
  3. Have storage containers - Items need a home. Make sure you have enough containers for your children's items and toys.
  4. Start tossing - You and your children should purge the things that you no longer need, use or want.  Keeping things simple will only help when cleaning. Think about this when you do your closets with clothes too.
  5. Do a 20 minute clean - Each day, you and your kids clean for twenty minutes as fast and efficient as you can. Make it fun and do it before you all sit down to watch TV. TV is a great motivator for a child at any age!
  6. Choose wisely - When you're shopping, try to think if you or your kids really need whatever the item or clothes might be. Just remember when you have more, you will need to put it in a space and clean it up.
  7. Get something, donate something- When they get a new toy or clothes, you donate something. Same goes for mom and dad!
  8. Ten toys - Only put ten items in a bin for your child to play with for the week. This makes playing and clean up much easier.
  9. Encourage each other - Encourage everyone to keep tidy and do their best work.
  10. Have a checklist - You can put a checklist in everyone's room that they must do before television away - such as Clothes away, Dirty clothes in the laundry, Floor empty, Trash in trash can etc.

I use a combination of all of these, but I need to implement all of them more consistently.  Are you ready for the challenge? To buy great organization items, please check out my Thirty One Page - https://www.mythirtyone.com/jessicagrono/

 

15 Fun facts about cerebral palsy day

Did you know that March 25 is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day?  National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day originated in 2013 due to a government resolution < https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/sres89> to celebrate. The nation has come a very long way in accepting cerebral palsy and understanding cerebral palsy, but there is still some work to do. In my lifetime, I have seen some major improvements in the treatment of people who have cerebral palsy, and that is an excellent thing to see.

I compiled a list of 15 points to consider when you communicate or with someone with cerebral palsy. These are facts and suggestions to make both of your lives just a bit easier. On March 25, don't forget to wear green to show your support for cerebral palsy. Educate others about the disability as well.

Cerebral palsy is not a sickness or disease. No one can catch or get rid of cerebral palsy.  It is a brain injury. The brain injury is usually cause by lack of oxygen to the brain before or after birth.

No two people have cerebral palsy the same way. Limitations vary on brain injury location and the intensity of the injury.
People can walk and still have CP. Not everyone needs to use a wheelchair to be mobile. Some can walk or use canes, walkers or crutches.

Mental challenges and cerebral palsy are two different disabilities. Sometimes people with cerebral palsy also have a mental challenge, but in most cases, they have average to above average IQ.

Some people will also experience vision, hearing and attention difficulties. But again, everyone is different and sometimes a person with cerebral palsy might have excellent hearing, vision and attention.

Having a speech impediment is a common factor in those who have cerebral palsy. A speech impediment means that they might be a little difficult to understand or cannot speak at all. Fortunately, technology and innovations have given people with speech impediments a way to communicate. Just be patient, understanding and listen.

Cerebral palsy affects the way the muscles move and respond. Think of a computer that isn't working like it should. You hit the right button but sometimes it just doesn't respond. The person might send a message to the brain, but the muscles do not always get the correct message.

A child with cerebral palsy is still a child. They all need love, guidance, support, play, creativity and rules. They don't need pity or extra special treatment just because they require some assistance.

Physical, occupational, speech and aquatic therapies are excellent for people with cerebral palsy.  They help with strengthening the muscles and train them to be better controlled to what you ask them to do.

Some people who have cerebral palsy can drive cars. Adaptations to vehicles make this possible, but sometimes the muscles spasticity and movements make driving a car until the technology improves.

People who have cerebral palsy usually want to work, but people hiring are often reluctant to hire.  But yes, people who have cerebral palsy can have occupations, make money and provide for their families.

Women and men can have children, and women can have normal healthy pregnancies. Cerebral palsy isn't genetic and doesn't affect the unborn baby.

The life expectancy of someone who has cerebral is normal.

There isn't a cure for cerebral palsy, but there are certain medications and surgeries that might ease the stiffness and involuntary movements of muscles.

People who have cerebral palsy are unique individuals with varying interests, gifts, personalities, opinions, relationships and lives.  They are like anyone else but have a few more challenges than most.

Originally published by Jessica Grono on CerebralPalsyNewsToday.com

Mediterranean Diet and Breast Cancer

Who doesn't want to cut their risk of breast cancer? Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to preventing cancer and everyone is different. However, it is comforting to know that there are some lifestyle changes we can do to at least try to prevent cancer. A few weeks ago, we learned that exercise may prevent the reoccurrence of breast cancer.  This week, a study by the International Journal of Cancer (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.30654/full) says that the Mediterranean diet can reduce the chance of estrogen receptor negative causing breast cancer.

Estrogen receptor negative breast cancer usually does not have a very good outcome. With this type of cancer, estrogen has no affect on the growth of the cancer tumor. The fact that the tumor is not affected by the estrogen means that there are a limited treatment options. Luckily, each day there are studies and techniques to conquer this form of breast cancer.  Mostly women who are post menopausal are more likely to get estrogen receptor negative breast cancer.

Changing your diet is a very important way to help keep your body healthy and fight off the risk to be diagnosed with breast cancer. No diet can keep cancer away, but it can keep us healthy so we can fight cancer with more strength. Diet is at least something that we have the control to change.  According to breastcancer.org (http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/reduce_risk/reduce_risk), eating a diet high in vegetables and fish but low in saturated fats is an excellent way to help your body to be at an optimum health.

The International Journal of Cancer study occurred in the Netherlands involving 62,573 women. They ranged in the ages of 55-69 years old. The study tracked their diets for over twenty years. Over three thousand of the women ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer. However, they could only use 2,321 cases because of the insufficient data in the other cases.

The study showed a high significance in those who ate a Mediterranean diet opposed to those who did not eat the same diet. The study actually found that post-menopausal estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer was 40% less prevalent in those who adhered closely to the Mediterranean diet. That is a significant percentage of those who didn't get the difficult form of breast cancer.

The Mediterranean diet has many variations, but the study said it was most effective when the woman followed the diet by strict guidelines. The Mediterranean diet consists of eating mainly fruits, legumes, spices, herbs, whole grain, olive oil, vegetables and fish. Vegetables and fruit from a plant seems to be the essential key.

According to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801,) the Mediterranean diet also has been linked to heart health, reducing occurrences of Alzheimer's disease, reducing cancer in general and maintaining a healthier life. The main elements to remember is to eat vegetables, but only eat red meat once a month, if at all.  Fish and poultry should be at least twice a week. Nuts are great to eat but only in moderation because of high calories. Limit or do away with salt by using spices and herbs. Yogurt is also good to eat.  Exercise is also a part of the diet.

Just try to be mindful that no diet is cancer proof. But maintaining a healthy body begins with what you eat, and having a healthy body provides you with strength to fight diseases such as breast cancer.


Originally posted by Jessica Grono on breastcancernewstoday.com

Thursday, March 9, 2017

March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

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!!!"

First finding out you have breast cancer

When you first discover that you have breast cancer, the world stops and spins about a million times. Nothing can or will ever prepare you for hearing anyone tell you, "I'm sorry to tell you but we found cancer in your biopsy." Or how my oncologist put it, "We found a little bit of cancer." That is like saying that you're a little bit pregnant.  You either are or you aren't - there isn't a happy medium.

Even if you are the strongest, healthiest, beautiful, emotionally healthy woman that ever struck the Earth, hearing the words that you have breast cancer will make you feel things that you never felt before. I actually beat myself up for how I reacted to my phone call. I cried, shook, and couldn't speak to anyone about it for a few hours. I thought to myself, "come on, you can handle this! You handle everything else!" 

But, listen, when you have cancer, it is okay to feel whatever you need to feel and act however you need to act for the first day. Unfortunately, sooner or later, you will need to tell your family and friends. I know that you do not want to because you don't want to ruin their day or upset them. But trust me, they want and need to know so they can better assist you.

I'm sure that you'll hear people say, "You can fight this." As you will shortly understand, cancer is not a fair argument or battle.  No one initiated cancer into your body. I never saw myself as fighting cancer but fighting to find the right treatment, the right doctor, the right hospital and the right support services. Radiation, cancer medication, chemotherapy, and mastectomies all fight the cancer. You are the vessel that will make it happen.

After you find out the news, it is important not to panic and think the worst case scenario.  Treatments, doctors, facilities and research are ever evolving. You probably won't know exactly the stage or type of cancer until your appointment. You can try discuss it over the telephone, but they don't always do that. But chances are they will give you some indication of what you are dealing with.

You need to be proud of yourself that you took the necessary steps needed to discover the cancer. Without your actions, waiting would only make your diagnosis much worse.  Give yourself credit that you made it to the let's tackle the problem stage.

When I first found out that I had breast cancer, I discovered that taking control of the situation helped me a lot. You already feel out of control so by taking the reins in what you can control gives you the power and not cancer.

Listen to all of the options, get a second opinion, let well meaning advice from friends roll off your back and keep calm. I thought going through cancer with my children would be harder than what it was.  My daughter was nine at the time, and I found that being honest and open helped everyone.  I promised her that I would be honest and keep her in the loop.  Yes, we had our emotional moments and things were hard, but we did it.

Allow family and friends be there for you.  I was surprised when I went to the oncologist that my husband, sister and mother all came with me.  It meant so much to me and made hearing both the news plus the options easier.  Let people help even if you feel you can do it all.  Enjoy the joys in life that makes you smile. Cancer has a way of reminding you of what is really important in life.


Monday, February 27, 2017

March is just around the corner

Jason turned 4 on February 20!  It's hard to believe that he is four now.  Jason can do so many things and is learning more each day. He is completely potty trained even at night.  He knows all of his colors, letters and can count to 20. He is very interested in the clock and tells me what numbers the hands are on.  He can dress himself including shoes and jacket.  Jason speaks clearly and in sentences. He naps about two hours a day. 

Jason loves to play. He asks me several times a day, "Mommy, will you play with me?"  He is lovable and extremely active.  I think his biggest fan is Laura. Jason loves school and his friends.  He wishes that he could go all week.  He also has swim class which he's not that into. 

Laura is doing very well. She will be ten and a half soon. She is getting very good grades in school. She takes drawing, clarinet and ukulele lessons.  Laura also is into the piano. She is very smart and funny.  My heart explodes when she says she loves me. Her artwork is amazing. 
 
 
 J

Dating 101 for People With Disabilities

Dating is difficult for everyone at one time or the other.  Disability or not, finding a date, asking for a date, and actually going out on a date is stressful. What do you do when you have a disability and want to date? Should you just forget about it and move on single for the rest of your life?  No! You get yourself together, create a goal and follow your dreams no matter what people say or self doubt in your mind.

I would be lying to you if I said dating is easy when you have a disability.  It's not and can be awkward, disappointing and plain old frustrating! However, nothing worth having in life comes easy. I will offer my own advice based on my own personal experiences and observations. But I can't tell you that my experiences will be exactly like yours or you will feel how I felt.  I'm hoping that I can encourage you to follow your heart and own life path.

Who are you besides having a disability? What do you like and dislike? Who are you attracted to and why? Are you happy?  Whatever you answer, keep it real and honest. Lying about these things will only hurt you in the end.  By knowing your genuine self and personality, you are more out to find someone who is right for you. Happiness comes from within.  You can't expect a partner to make you happy and maintain your happiness.  Be happy on your own, and then you definitely know you're ready to make the next steps.

Cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities are noticeable no matter what you do. I felt frustrated when guys looked at me and saw my wheelchair instead of my figure. I also felt annoyed at my cerebral palsy that when I felt attracted to someone, my spasms would react to my emotions.  How embarrassing, right? But all of this came from my perspective and not theirs. They didn't know my body in the first place so if I seemed more spastic, they didn't know any better.  And, if I felt good about my appearance, people noticed that way before they noticed my wheelchair.

I concentrated on my appearance and style.  Focusing on your appearance doesn't mean to spend lots of money to keep up with the newest trends. It means to make sure you're happy when you look in the mirror.  I also concentrated on having my own hobbies, friends, and life. Being busy and focused on goals are attractive qualities, but more importantly, they are great for your own self esteem and worth. The last thing you want is to depend on someone else for your life.

When someone shows interest in you, it's exciting, awesome, thrilling and happy. Let yourself feel all of these emotions.  Keep in check how you feel as well.  Whatever you do, don't stay with someone purely because they accept your disability.  Trust me, there are many people out there who will love you for being you.  Don't use your disability to stay in the wrong relationship.

Be honest with your disability as much as you feel comfortable. It was difficult for me at first to talk about cerebral palsy with a potential date because it almost felt like I was talking about something taboo or I thought he'd be turned off immediately. But through dating experiences, I learned that they more they understood, they could focus on who I was as a person and not just a disability.

Unfortunately, nothing can shelter you from heart break disability or not.  A guy broke up with me after over a few months simply because I couldn't walk on the beach. Yes, of course it hurt my feelings.  However, I picked myself up and moved forward.  It might take time even years to find someone who fits you, but do not settle.  You can find the right partner if that's your goal.  Think of dating like a job interview, the more you go on, the better you are and more you learn.
 

Monday, January 9, 2017

January Resolutions Time

January is a new month and year which makes a whole new start. Having cerebral palsy shouldn't stop anyone from making new year resolutions.  I like Christmas time, but I also always liked opening a brand new calendar to write down my New Years resolutions.  I rarely complete all of them, but writing my goals down helps keep me on track. Having goals keeps you moving ahead and obtaining achievements. Big or small resolutions doesn't matter as long as you make them and not give up when they start being difficult.

Here is a suggested list of new year resolutions that might inspire you to make your own. Don't ever be afraid to reach high for goals.  It doesn't mean you have to complete all of them, but puts you on the fast track of success.

Look back at the previous year and see what you can improve on or complete. Is there a bad relationship or unhealthy friendship that you should end? A bad habit that you are ready to drop? Maybe you have things that you need to finish but you kept putting it off. Now is the time to tie up any lose ends so you can move on to a new beginning.

Not being able to walk or physically do something gives people the perfect excuse to not exercise.  I know because I've done it too but as long as you can move at least one body part, you can exercise. Call your local gyms and YMCA to see if they have any exercise equipment that you can use. Perhaps they can order it for you. Join an exercise class and do what you can. Stop the excuses because we all know having a disability doesn't mean you can't exercise. It only means that you need to adapt your routine. 

Get all your medical appointments scheduled and actually go to them. Having cerebral palsy can make going to the doctor feel exhausting. However, putting off serious tests can have very dangerous results.

What are your professional goals? Sometimes disabilities can make us forget that we do have value aspects to contribute to society.  Technology and the Internet has made career goals so much more obtainable. Ignore the fear and just do whatever it is that you love.  No more excuses because life is too short to waste.

Love more.  When I say love more, I'm talking about loving others and yourself. Are you in a relationship that gives to you what you deserve? Are you giving to the relationship what they deserve?  Thinking about others, making time and helping others are the way to happiness.

Get aquatinted back to physical, occupational, and speech therapies that will improve your life.  Therapy might be hard work, but it also pays off. No pain, no gain and that is the simple truth.

Choose happiness. Getting wrapped up in self pity and laziness are just too easy to do. Happiness isn't a gift from someone else. Happiness is a gift you give yourself every day. If you're a miserable person, then you tend to attract miserable people into your life. However, if you choose to find joy in life, you'll attract joyful people.  Do things that make you feel happy.  Let go of thinking everyone is out to get you. Look for the good in people instead of the bad. Drop drama and make the right choices so you avoid drama. Be happy.

I hope you have a pleasant, successful, friendly, and happy year. Focus positively and look on the bright side.  Smile and open your hear to love, forgiveness, and hard work.

How society views people who have cerebral palsy

Have you ever had a day when you forget that you have cerebral palsy? You simply wake up, do your normal routine and don't even think ab...