What is Cerebral Palsy?

Today marks the start of Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month, a month to educate others about CP. Started in 2006 from Reaching for the Stars, A Foundation of Hope for Children with Cerebral Palsy - RFTS, a non-profit organisation which run by parents of children with cerebral palsy. These people help raise awareness about cerebral palsy and try to improve research for people living with CP, and their families.

Cerebral palsy, also known as CP; is when the brain sends wrong signals to a person's body. This person can be diagnosed with CP before birth, during birth, shortly after birth or, as some of my friends have, during their childhood. Cerebral Palsy is one of the most common physical disabilities that a child could have, but within saying this CP within itself is so broad and so unique that no two people within the world has the exact same type of cerebral palsy as each other.

At 18 months old I was diagnosed with level II Ataxic Cerebral Palsy and dysarthria. This means that the CP effects both of my legs, and my hands. I sometimes trip or stumble over and need the rail or something to hold onto when walking up and down stairs, but no I can walk and I choose to not use aids to assist me with getting around in my day-to-day life. When people see me for the first time (most people) wouldn't be able to understand me, as I talk slower than the average person would.

Image description: A dark green background with my logo in the top right corner which says, “Layne Dixon Blogger & Disability advocate”. Underneath this are two green pieces of paper and in this paper it says, “What is Cerebral Palsy?” And underneath this there is a bright green ribbon.

For me this month is another month for disability pride. As a young disabled woman who has CP, I believe that there needs to be more awareness about CP, and what cerebral palsy is in general.

Ever since I learnt that self-advocacy as a disabled person was a thing, I have been finding more and more people with cerebral palsy online. Some of these folks use aids such as k-walkers, wheelchairs and sticks to get around in their day-to-day world. From what I've learnt, this isn't a bad thing. I have even met some people with CP choose to use a wheelchair, but they can also move around independently on their own. There are some people choose to have a wheelchair, whilst others with CP don't have a choice, so they can move around independently. When I was growing up, I was told that using mobility aids (like a wheelchair) was a bad thing, when in hindsight it’s not a bad thing.

Disability and cerebral palsy pride is so important to me. Growing up in school, I didn't know a heap of disabled folks, but now I do, and it is awesome. As many of you know I use my social media accounts, as well as this platform to share my experiences as a young disabled folk. Yes, there are stereotypes, stigmas and barriers which is associated with disability; and this is just cruel and awful, but I do what I do to make sure that young people like myself going through school can see that they are not alone, and that school doesn't have to define you.

How can you help?

  1. Bring up the conversation of Cerebral Palsy

  2. Follow people/advocates living with Cerebral Palsy

  3. Follow people with Cerebral Palsy. I have chosen a few ladies that have shaped and influenced me into the person that I am today. Go and check them out!

  • Robyn Lambird – YouTuber, influencer, athlete and model. Robyn was one of the first people that I followed online, she’s an incredible advocate and mentor for people with disabilities. Please go and follow her, you might learn something from this incredible young lady – Instagram, YouTube, Ticktok!

  • Teya Humphris – Athlete and blogger. Teya always surprises me with what she shares on her social media. Not long after I took my writing seriously, I started following her, and what she shares, and how she writes her story to the world is just amazing. Please go and follow her on Instagram and Facebook!

  • Paula Carozzo – Model, influencer and blogger. Paula is another incredible blogger that I will recommend you follow. She uses her platform to amplify her voice about inclusion within the modelling industry which I believe is amazing. Alongside this, she shares her journey about having CP, and bits of her spiritual journey. You can follow her on Instagram!

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