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Explaining Cerebral Palsy to Others
Being able to talk about your condition is one of the best ways in which you can raise awareness.
Our @Chloe_Scope shares her thoughts.
Explaining Cerebral Palsy to others
It can often be tricky to know how or when to disclose your disability. This could be describing it to friends at school or a potential employer when you are applying for a job. How on earth do you get it right and how do you say it in a way that people can understand? For Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, I’ve tried to write down how I would approach these situations and what top tips other people in the CP community would give.
[Image of a woman walking in a field with a walking stick]
How would I describe my Cerebral Palsy?
Something that instantly stood out is that people alter the way they describe their CP depending on the situation or person. I personally know I have a few set ways I choose to describe it, almost like a little script! When looking back on old speeches I have written, the way I choose to summarise it seems to be very similar. For example:
“It wasn’t until the age of 7 that I was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy, affecting my legs and left arm. Cerebral Palsy is a group of lifelong conditions that affect movement and co-ordination, caused by brain damage that occurs before, during or soon after birth; for me it has meant muscle weakness, my muscles being too tight and lack of coordination and balance, meaning I fall over a lot more than most.
Although my speech is unaffected, which can sometimes be the case with Cerebral Palsy, it has resulted in chronic pain and a visual impairment. Ever since being diagnosed at the age of 7, I have worn splints on my legs on and off which have helped me walk, as well as using a stick and wheelchair for the past 4 years. Although Cerebral Palsy is a fixed condition it is very common to deteriorate as a teenager and the effect it has on our muscles can change daily.”
[Image looking down on to a hand holding a walking stick]
Now that is quite medicalised and not necessarily what I would say in an everyday situation. Could you imagine saying that to everyone you meet?! I don’t think I would get the chance to talk about anything else! I know from experience, if your CP is mild then it can be harder if people just assume you are non-disabled.
Yet explaining your CP can change for various reasons:
· changes with age
· depends on the situation
· why the person is asking
· explaining it to children
· using an analogy
You can read more here:
Do you have any hints at how to describe your CP to others?
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead
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