But I feel like it's time for me to talk about it and make people aware of it or even relate to some of you that are going through it like me...
That disability is called cerebral palsy or CP for short. This is a result of a birth defect in the brain which is caused by damage to the motor control center. It can happen in early stages of pregnancy, during birth or a child can show signs of having CP up to age 3.
Signs of having CP are:
Signs of having CP are:
- Poor Muscle tone
- Poor coordination and balance
- Spastic muscles or movements
- Not meeting specific milestones
There are levels of severity with CP. There are people who can walk and get around with some sort of supportive device and may not need help from others as much, others are bound to a wheelchair and depend on others to do daily tasks.
In my case I can walk with assistance or I use a walker to get around, but for long distances I use a wheelchair to get around.
My whole life has been a challenge since day 1. I was born premature at only 6 months and basically fit into the palm of your hand (I know this for a fact because my grandmother tells my birth story at every family gathering we have haha).
As I grew up I went to school just like any other kid, the only thing that I did differently was that I was in a special education program that helped me in any areas that I had problems in, but I was in a regular class with everyone else. I dealt with things like any other kids goes through growing up (hormones,acne, crushes etc).
Even now when I went to college I had some help, but this time I would go to classes on my own and be more independent having to adjust to having the college experience. I was a little more at ease, a little more sure of myself and slowly coming out of my shell. I have made so many great friends and met some people who were helpful if I needed it.
I also do things like any other person, only I have to find ways to do them in a way that is easier for me. It is very frustrating and tiring, but like everything that is new you have to practice it until you can get it right. It also might take me a bit longer to do something that a normal person can do, but I feel proud that I am able to them on my own. This also includes asking for help when I need it, because when I was younger I didn't do much of and I guess it was because I wanted to prove I could do it on my own. I now realize that it's okay to ask for help, no one will look down at you for it because asking for help is what all people do no matter what you have. I also realized that if a person asks me if I need help I know it's just in their best interest and you can just politely say you're fine. (unless it's a really cute guy then you can take up their offer, haha)
Now that I'm an adult, I'm more independent in a way that I'm able to go somewhere without depending on my mom to take me. This is thanks to a bus service that picks me up at my house and takes me where I need to go, so I can go to the store, to hang out with friends or go to important appointments on my own and feel like a normal person.
Although there are instances where people assume things just by looking at me and treat me a certain way.
When I was younger it used to bother me so much that kids would stare and ask whoever they were with what was wrong with me and their parents would try to quiet them saying it wasn't nice. It was never to point where they would laugh and make fun of me, but it made me upset that I wasn't like the other kids, that I couldn't do or play like they could. I would get so upset over why I was the way that I am and I had the want to be like everyone else and not have this disability. I remember in Elementary school there was a teacher who told my parents I wasn't academically capable to be in a regular class, if only they could see me now.
Sadly some people still assume the intelligence or what a person with an impairment can do.
Take Stephen Hawking for example, he has a disability and is probably the smartest person in the world , both Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder suffer from blindness and are musical legends and respected by many. I've also heard many inspiring stories of people who overcame others expectations and assumptions and have done so many great things.
One story in particular that has stuck with me since I've heard it in high school is the story of Nick Vujicic who was born with no limbs and yet he still does things like surfing ,swimming and has a lovely family of his own (Read his incredible story here). So next time you call a person a retard or cripple, just know they might end up going somewhere and doing amazing things!
I'm not going to lie, I still find myself asking why can't I be like a "normal" but, in my 23 years of life I now realize there really isn't a right definition of being "normal", so this is what I am and it's okay to be different. I know there will be many more challenges for me and I am so grateful for the love and support of my mom who always tells me give up and follow whatever dreams I have. Hopefully one day I will make those dreams come true and make her proud.
I'm also very lucky to have friends who I've known for most of my life that are in the same sort of situation as me, so if I have any doubts or fears on something that they've already been through I can go to them for advice or just talk it out with them or vice-versa. It also gives me comfort that I'm not alone in this situation and that I can go to someone who is probably going through the same struggles and at the same time we can help each other out in a way.
Like any person who has any kind of struggle, it's good to have that kind of support from others who are going through the same thing, because other people, no matter how hard they want to feel like they know or understand how it feels to be in that sort of situation, they only see the outside of what you go througn7h on a day to day basis, rather than the the emotional toll it can have on person going through it.
I'm very thankful to have regular friends who look beyond my appearance and treat me like any other person. I'm already a very shy person as it is and sometimes I do feel like my disability holds me back even more when meeting new people, but I've met so many good people that made me feel accepted and normal that helps me be more social. It's great to have that sort of balance of people in your life because it can change other peoples assumptions of you when they first see you, like "oh he/she's so cool, you gotta see how funny and smart they are!" rather than just introducing as the "kid in a wheelchair" or "the kid with a walker". I also feel really lucky to know that they will help me if I need it and be there for me whenever and I hope they know that I would do the same for them!
So if you are like me and have a disability here's a tip I learned: Don't let disability define you, keep your head up and keep going! It's going to be a bumpy road but with the right attitude and support of people that love you, you can get through it! Once you accomplish whatever obstacle is in your way, your going to feel so proud of yourself and much more stronger than before.
And to anyone else reading this: Don't assume. Don't be afraid to ask questions because you both might learn something and gain a friendship for life...
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."-Unknown
(If you have any questions or just need someone to talk to you can reach me on any of my accounts on the side panel)