Zach Anner Offers Top-Notch Advice for 11-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy

If you don’t know who Zach Anner is, you need to. If you do, it’s probably not a surprise he’s up to something else awesome.

Anner is famous for his YouTube series “Riding Shotgun,” “Workout Wednesday” and “Top of The Monday” (with Soul Pancake). He recently did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) to support his new memoir “If At Birth You Don’t Succeed,” which dropped this week.

Anner had a few grew responses to questions from fans, but one related to his cerebral palsy stuck out to us.

User jeddalyn set up this scene:

I need a little advice. Friends of mine have an 11 year old son with CP and he usually uses a wheelchair when we’re out. I spend a lot of time with him and we often go for adventures around town.

One thing that makes me frustrated is when people come up to us and say to me, “What’s wrong with him?” or some variation on that. This happens quite often and I’m never sure how to handle it.

First, I’m angry that they’re talking to me like he’s not even there, and can’t hear what we’re saying. I mean, he’s 11 for god’s sake. Second, the whole phrase “what’s wrong with him?” makes me angry. And third, why do they think they have the right to ask personal information like that?

The worst is when people try to give us advice. Especially about faith healing or herbal medicine or new-age treatments.

I wish I had some witty reply, but I usually just feel really annoyed and, I think, maybe protective. I try to brush them off and ignore them, saying something like, “There’s nothing wrong with him, he’s fine.” Some persistent people will not get the hint and say something like, “No, why is he in a wheelchair?”

What can I do or say here? We are in Canada, so legally I have to be polite about it or Justin Trudeau harms a baby panda or something.

I don’t think these people realize that they’re being rude. Sometimes these questions come from other people in wheelchairs as well. I know they’re just being curious, but I can tell that it makes my young friend awkward, and I’m not really helping because I don’t know how to handle it.

This was Anner’s response:

Great question. I experience this all the time. I think the best advice I can give is to empower your friend’s son to brush off comments like that, or if they come from a genuine place to answer them honestly, and refocus the conversation on who your friend’s son is, and not what his condition is. People will always be curious and ignorant, and unfortunately the only cure for that is sharing knowledge.

It’s not easy when you’re 11 to be constantly told that you’re different, or there’s something wrong with you. But every social exchange that I have like that, I take it upon myself to rise above it, and reclaim my personhood. If he’s really struggling, just tell him, in a few years he’ll be able to laugh it off, and that people can be stupid sometimes.

But I do my best to never antagonize anyone if I don’t have to.

We can’t wait to read his book.

And here’s an example of Anner’s videos, just because:

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