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Cerebral Palsy and dating
Dating when you have a disability can certainly be a challenge. However, we too are worthy of love. I found online dating a minefield and always felt the need to ‘announce’ my disability at some point. Not to mention the fact that some people think disabled people cannot date someone who is non-disabled.
One major stereotype that I’ve never really understood is that disabled people should be in a relationship with someone who’s also disabled. Whether this is due to the fact that disabled people are wrongly seen as ‘undateables’, or because we must only associate with our ‘own kind’.
My experience of being in a relationship
“Is your boyfriend disabled too?"
Actually, he is. But that’s not the point! Disabled people are capable of dating non-disabled people. However, I never thought I‘d find someone willing to be in a relationship with me. Disability is nearly always seen as a negative and obviously, your disability isn’t going to leave you to have a lovely first date. Despite this, having a disabled boyfriend has meant we have a level of understanding which is almost impossible to achieve.
I’ve been in a relationship for 2 years, even though I thought I’d never find someone who would see me for me. Yet I can’t help but feel this is down to a lack of representation.
The importance of representation within the media
Do you want a realistic comedy about what it's like navigating through the beginning of adulthood with mild Cerebral Palsy? Then watch Special.
As someone who has Cerebral Palsy, it is a refreshing change to see my disability accurately portrayed and played by someone who also has CP (thanks Ryan O’Connell). There have been a few instances where a character with CP has been played by a non-disabled actor, this is comical and unrealistic at best. I'd say it takes great skill to move like someone with CP.
Yet this is why the Netflix original Special is really needed.
The raw nature of daily challenges was something I found amusing and reassuring. From falling over in the street to questioning the big statements in life: Am I disabled enough? Ryan just desired what any normal 20-year-old wants: his own place, a job and a relationship. Yet we quickly realise having CP can add a few more hurdles to these 'normal milestones'.
You can read more here:
Specialist Information Officer and Cerebral Palsy Programme Lead
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