A day to raise awareness. A single day each year, for a condition that affects millions. And it isn’t even a condition, it’s an umbrella term. Cerebral Palsy is as different for each person diagnosed with it as their fingerprints.
One person with Cerebral Palsy may be able to walk and talk and their disability will have minimal impact on their lives. Others will be so disabled they are not well enough to leave the hospital. Then you have every variation in between. Like I said ‘Cerebral Palsy’ is an umbrella term.
For Alfie, his Cerebral Palsy is defined as ‘Spastic Quadriplegic’. It affects his whole body, external and internal. For anyone with Cerebral Palsy, that is not who they are though- that is their disability. Alfie has Cerebral Palsy, but Alfie is also a twin. They just turned 5 and are still getting up to mischief together!
Alfie cannot walk, unless in his MyWay walking frame, sit or crawl, but Alfie can roll. And my goodness, he is quick! He waits for us to leave the room or look away then rolls as quickly as he can to cause as much havoc and mischief as possible, then cackles when he is caught. Sometimes, he even has the good grace to pretend to be sad as we move him away from whatever he shouldn’t be doing, but normally he belly-laughs as we start to say his name.
Alfie also loves to read. No, he cannot read himself, he is only 5, but he loves us to read to him and to look at his books as he is playing on the floor. His favourite story is The Gruffalo, he loves the repetition and anticipation.
You see, regardless of his disability, Alfie is just a little boy. And just like any other child, he likes to play and sees the best in others. That is what is important, don’t see the disability, see the person. See what they can do instead of what they cannot do. See their likes and interests instead of what makes them different.
Say hello and include them. A disabled person is still a person and has the same worth as someone who isn’t disabled. It isn’t until we see past a person’s disabilities that we truly see the person and that is when society will truly be inclusive.