You don’t have time to dive into the nuances of Cerebral Palsy each time you mention your child’s diagnosis and someone wants to better understand. While a thorough explanation can be extremely beneficial in breaking down stigmas (and you could always just tell them to check out our website!), the truth is that there’s not enough time in the day to discuss such a complex condition. Given the widespread misinformation associated with various lifelong conditions, much less CP, we wanted to provide a short explanation for you to help explain without losing your day.
Explaining Cerebral Palsy in 30 Seconds
So what is Cerebral Palsy?
In short (and we do mean short), Cerebral Palsy is a diagnosis related to a brain injury or malformation suffered during pregnancy, delivery or shortly thereafter. CP can impact each person differently, causing a limp in some people, while others face much more dramatic challenges. It doesn’t mean that a child is slow, or helpless, or doesn’t understand what you’re saying. It just means they face challenges differently than other children.
Can it be Cured?
Cerebral Palsy cannot be cured at this time. Therapy helps retrain the brain to handle challenges that are hampered by the injury, but the condition will not go away.
Should I Talk Slower?
Not necessarily. Just because Cerebral Palsy involves a brain injury or malformation does not mean every person living with CP has trouble understanding you. Some children and adults with Cerebral Palsy have the same intelligence as those who do not. Brain injuries can impact a wide variety of things and a person with CP may simply struggle with physical challenges while being just as wise as anyone else.
How Did This Happen?
Cerebral Palsy can be caused by a wide range of circumstances. Nearly all of them are not associated with anything a parent did and are instead due to dealys in performing a C-section delivery, genetics, physical limitations of the mother’s body, unforeseen issues in the womb or other errors by a doctor. Parents do not cause CP except in extreme abusive (physical or substance) circumstances.
What Can I Do to Help?
Any advocate can help by knowing and explaining that just because someone has Cerebral Palsy does not mean they are different. Instead, those with CP just face more challenges associated with their day-to-day life. This might be a spasm or difficulties communicating… it can also mean serious physical and other health problems. You can help those with Cerebral Palsy by treating them as a human being and understanding their challenges, just like you would anyone else!
We want to hear from you: how do you explain Cerebral Palsy to those who do not understand it?