Here’s Why Cerebral Palsy Awareness Is Necessary

It’s been almost six years of my son, Noah’s journey with cerebral palsy. Noah is cognitively aware that he’s trapped in a challenged body — a voice that wants to get out, a body that craves to move and a desire to demonstrate his perseverance. He now understands the difference of being loved and being shunned by others. Which makes it more important than ever to spread awareness about his diagnosis and what that means for him and others affected by CP.

Battling rejection is hard for any of us. It can be incredibly damaging on your self-esteem. We can quickly convince ourselves of lies that are fed to us by the suggestion of others:  “I’m not loved,” “I’m not accepted,” “I’m not worthy,” “I’m broken,” “I’m ugly.” When this happens it can cause emotional wounds that are sometimes hard to overcome. It’s even harder for a child with a disability, who’s fighting an uphill battle physically, to feel as if the world not only has this negative perception about you but also refuses to accept you just the way you are.  A child who understands what you’re saying, even though he cannot verbally respond. A child who notices your stares but lacks the ability to to reach out and hold your hand to show you he’s a precious human being. A child who cannot run or walk to prove he’s worthy of being considered an equal to your own typical child. That child, that amazing wonderful child is my son, Noah.

mom and noah1

“When you’re different, sometimes you don’t see the millions of people who accept you for what you are. All you notice is the person who doesn’t.” — Jodi Picoult

I find myself no longer able to protect Noah from his understanding of the cruelty that others can aim in his direction. All I can do is encourage him not to fall pray to the population who doesn’t yet understand his disability and realize that cerebral palsy is secondary to the incredible little guy he really is.

World CP Day grows more important for us as a family each year. By bringing awareness to what CP is, how it affects a person and what that means for them and for others around them is critical. If you can sway just one person to change their perspective of someone they see with CP, how they treat and act around someone with CP, to educate them that CP is not a disease and nothing to be feared — then that is one less person who has the power to reject someone like Noah.

Noah deserves to be valued.

Spreading awareness is so important. Awareness = Love = Acceptance.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you deny that Noah has a severe disability; it simply means that you accept him regardless of his disability. You are able to see that while he’s different, he’s not less. Acceptance means you acknowledge that he’s worthy of being loved, of having great value in this world. Acceptance means you don’t need to say something nasty or mean and stare but rather approach him with love and encouragement. Acceptance means you don’t fear what you don’t understand or aren’t familiar with.

We each have the power to make a difference in the life of another. And awareness is key.

This post originally appeared on Noah’s Miracle.

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