Written by Krishna Sabaratnam
Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects a person's ability to move and maintain balance and posture. The adjustments that individuals with cerebral palsy make in their everyday lifestyle can vary depending on the severity of their condition and the specific challenges they face.
Unfortunately, there is still a widespread stigma surrounding cerebral palsy. This is normally due to a lack of understanding and a tendency to view people with disabilities as different or lesser. Education is key to breaking down stigma and ensuring the inclusion of those affected by cerebral palsy.
Let's break it down below...
1. Cerebral Palsy is Contagious
Though cerebral palsy is not contagious, there is a common stigma that people can contract the disorder by being near someone who has the condition. While cerebral palsy is not curable, individuals with cerebral palsy can live full and meaningful lives with proper care, support, and access to various resources.
2. People with Cerebral Palsy are Intellectually Disabled
Some individuals with cerebral palsy may be affected by how they learn, think, and reason. However, many people living with cerebral palsy have normal to above-average intelligence, and their cognitive abilities are not affected by their condition. It's important to recognize that each individual with cerebral palsy is unique and may have different strengths, challenges, and supportive needs - much like all of us.
3. Being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy means a shorter lifespan
People with cerebral palsy can vary enormously in their life span. However, those with long life expectancies usually have better medical care, adaptive equipment, and autonomy. By pushing for a more inclusive and equitable society, we can better meet the needs of those with the condition.
4. All people who are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy are confined to a wheelchair
The mobility needs of those with cerebral palsy can vary widely from person to person. Some individuals can walk or use other mobility aids, such as crutches, walkers, or braces. It's important to note that individuals with cerebral palsy should have access to a range of mobility options to support their independence and participation in daily life activities.
5. People suffering from Cerebral Palsy cannot live full and productive lives
With appropriate support and access to services, people with cerebral palsy can lead fulfilling and productive lives. They can attend school, work, have families, participate in recreational activities, and contribute to their communities in a variety of ways.