March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month. I’ve lived with CP for 23 years. Growing up, I had high expectations for myself. I assumed my adulthood wouldn’t look that different from my peers. At the time, I had no idea just how difficult it is to figure out adulthood as someone living with a physical disability.
I often wonder if I’ll get married. Will my partner see me as a burden? Would my children resent having a disabled mother?
I have been looking for a job since 2019, and haven’t any luck. Employers don’t hire me once they find out that I am disabled. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 21.3 percent of disabled people were employed last year, up from 19.1 percent in 2021. However, the unemployment rate for disabled people is still triple that of non-disabled people.
Society needs to understand that children with CP end up growing into adults who still have CP. We need to serve adults with CP as well as children, because adults with Cerebral Palsy deserve to live their lives to the fullest.
One of the most challenging parts of living with Cerebral Palsy is chronic pain. Spasticity is a symptom that frequently leaves me exhausted. My muscles are always stiff and tight. Pain often makes it difficult to function every day. It affects everything from sleep to getting dressed.
Cerebral Palsy is much more than just a physical disability. My disability often makes me question my worth as a human being. I often wonder if I matter in the world. We are all valuable and have something to contribute to the world.
Ceron, Ella. “Remote Work Helps Push Disabled Employment to a Record High of 21%. but the Gain Is Imperiled by Return to the Office Mandates.” Fortune, Fortune Media Group Holdings, 25 Feb. 2023, https://fortune.com/2023/02/24/remote-work-disabled-employment-record-high-remote-work-office-mandates/.
Parsons, McKenzy. “March Is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.” KPTM, Sinclair Broadcast Group, 15 Mar. 2022, https://fox42kptm.com/news/local/march-is-national-cerebral-palsy-awareness-month.