What Cerebral Palsy Cannot Take From Me:

Cerebral Palsy affects every aspect of my life. From my hobbies to my career goals to my self-esteem, there’s nothing CP hasn’t affected. I have lived with my disability for 22 years. Cerebral Palsy, however, cannot take away my ability to make a difference in the world. I enjoy making others feel valued and loved. I love to spend time picking out gifts and writing memorable poems for people in my life. Disabled people deserve to be seen as capable in the workplace or as volunteers too. I want so badly to be gainfully employed and pay taxes.

Cerebral Palsy doesn’t take away my opportunities to enjoy life and be included in my community. Even if it takes extra effort, I enjoy visiting family, museums, and the movie theater. Disabled people deserve to enjoy their lives as much as they possibly can. Even people with the most severe of disabilities are allowed to enjoy their lives as much as they can. Society needs to accommodate everybody. Disabled people don’t have to sit at home. They can go out to dinner, on vacations, to the mall, or to the movies. They should be allowed to see as much of the world as possible.

Most of all, Cerebral Palsy doesn’t take away from my need to be treated with dignity and respect. Nowhere is this more true than in medical care. Many times medical professionals haven’t addressed me directly. Instead, they would talk to my parents or my PCA. I am the patient, and I deserve to make decisions regarding my care. When it comes to hiring my PCAs, I should be able to feel comfortable with whoever I hire. My PCAs help me with tasks like getting dressed, showering, and using the bathroom. These are intimate tasks, and I need my PCA to understand that it is uncomfortable for me.

Cerebral Palsy makes my life harder. However, CP doesn’t take away from the fact that I am a human being just like anybody else. CP does make me feel worthless at times, but I am worthy of living a meaningful life, and of dignity and respect, and a life free from abuse.

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