Saturday, March 23, 2013

CEREBRAL PALSY AWARENESS DAY.

According to the United Cerebral Palsy Association's website www.ucp.org March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month.   March 25, 2013 is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. 

Cerebral Palsy is a disability that's caused by the brain being damaged or not properly developed.  Damage can occur before, during or shortly after birth.  Cerebral Palsy affects, movement, coordination and balance.  In some cases a person's speech is affected.  

The three main types are:

Spastic Cerebral  Palsy causes a person's  arms and legs to be stiff. This makes it difficult for them to move easily. This the type of CP that I have.

Athetoid Cerebral Palsy causes a person to have movements that are involuntary.  People with this type of CP cannot control the movement of their body. 

Those who have Ataxic Cerebral Palsy have difficulty with balance and depth perception.  

People with Mixed Cerebral Palsy have a combination of the types.

Actress/comedienne Geri Jewell was the first disabled person to be given a regular role on a television series.  She played Blair's Cousin Geri on Facts of Life.  She also has CP. I had the pleasure of having lunch with her  when she came to Meramec to speak for their Disability Awareness Day.  She was inspiring.  I could relate to many of the things she went through growing up.

In 1998, Dr. Jan Brunstrom of St. Louis Children's Hospital, started the Pediatric Neurology Cerebral Palsy Center.  She, too, has CP. Imagine having a doctor who truly understands what it's like to have your disability.  It must be reassuring and a tremendous asset to a child's treatment

I would have given anything to have had role models like Geri Jewell and Dr. Brunstrom when I was young.  Sadly, back then, there was no one to look up to.  No one to offer hope.  I'm so glad things are different today.

On March 25th please wear green to show support  for those with Cerebral Palsy.  .