Monday, April 4, 2011

Cerebral Palsy: Misunderstood,

Living With One Hand:

A recent conversation at the local gym left me surprised and made me wonder what others thought about the following situation:

I have Athetoid Cerebral Palsy which means I can control my arm about 60%.  I can wave hello to a passerby and turn on a light switch with my left hand – but that is about it.  My life with Cerebral Palsy has not stopped me yet… I invited my therapists to come watch me play soccer and basketball as I grew up.  I played the piano with my elbow, and I graduated college with my Masters in Occupational Therapy. 

The challenge I faced at the gym started as a simple conversation – she asked if I was married, to which I replied “yes, almost two years now.”  Then she asked a question that was more like a statement – “So would you abort if you got pregnant?” 

This is not a post to discuss the ethics of abortion.  It did make me wonder if me, a girl with Cerebral Palsy should be concerned about having children of my own…
what do you think?  Keep in mind that Cerebral Palsy is NOT genetic – it cannot be passed down to my children.    


Anonymous said...

Hi Shannin,

What an incredibly rude question to ask. Of course you can have children with CP, contrary to what this person might think. Next time somebody asks you that, just answer "I don't know. Would you?" This forces them to say what they most probably think, something along the lines of "I am not disabled, it doesn't apply to me." To which you could answer: "Disabled people do have children, some healthy, some not, who they raise to be happy adults. Assuming otherwise is pretty judgemental, don't you think?" Most probably, this answer would just shut them up, though. I use it when somebody wants to talk about my CP and starts with "So... did you hurt your leg?" When I really don't feel like talking about it, I just say "no". I haven't met anyone who pushed on and said: "Then why do you walk funny?"

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