I have a disability — more specifically, I have cerebral palsy, which leads me to having multiple disabilities. This is not something I mention to very many people, especially online. Most people don’t ever question me about it, which is fine by me since I don’t really like going into full details about my CP. However, I decided to write about my disability because a friend is doing something to raise awareness and money for those who have CP. As Tidus said in Final Fantasy X, this is my story.
When most people think of cerebral palsy, they think of people in wheelchairs due to paralysis. That’s not the case with me. My own CP is a mild form of athetoid CP that I contracted from premature birth. This means I have functions of all of my limbs — I am capable of walking and running, and I have full usage of my hands and arms. I have motor functions, but my muscles doesn’t always cooperate with me. Plus, my CP affects my sense of balance. This brought on years of physical and occupational therapies. I vividly recall having to learn simple tasks such as tying a shoe because my fingers couldn’t handle tasks that require fine motor skills. I’ll never forget those times of walking on a balance beam and being taught to place my heel first when I walk. These therapy sessions have helped, but presently I have difficulties with some fine motor tasks and my legs tend to not cooperate with me on some days. It’s not uncommon for me to trip over something on a daily basis.
My CP affects two other functions: hearing and speech. I have hearing problems with high and low frequencies, and I cannot hear well when something is too soft. Put me in a loud room, I will not be able to hear what you’re telling me. This is why I stay away from noisy places like a night club. This is why I prefer to watch a show with closed-captions because then I can fully understand what’s being said. My hearing in turn affected my speech, and I also had to do speech therapy. Having CP means that my mouth and tongue doesn’t work properly at times. When I start getting excited, nervous, or frustrated, my words comes out incorrectly, and sometimes I can’t even say the word. This is the most frustrating for me about my CP because I have difficulties articulating myself orally and I can’t help but feel so incompetent. This is why I prefer to write or type when I communicate with people.
I have CP, and I’ve long come to accept having it. I’ve also come to appreciate what I can do, for I know there are those who have more severe forms of CP. But there are those like me, who suffer from milder cases. Mild or severe, we have CP, and I wanted to take the time to share my experience. I also wanted to take this time to support a cause that’s CP-related. My friend, Georgie, is doing Steptember this month. Each day, she and her teammates have pledged to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. They are raising money, and these will be donated to CP research, therapy, and other services for those who needs them. Please make a donation to Georgie’s team here.
On a final note, thank you for reading this post. This isn’t an easy topic for me, but I decided to come out of the CP-closet, so to say, and write about my experiences. I hope to have given you some insight about people living with milder forms of CP.