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To Children With Cerebral Palsy Going Back to School

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Dear Children With Cerebral Palsy,

Hello! Summer has wrapped up for me and maybe for you as well, depending on your school. I hope it was a good one for you! As you start another year of school, I wanted to send some encouragement your way. School can be one of the hardest places for a person with disabilities because others don’t know how to react to you. I know, I was the only kid with a disability at all of my schools. Kids made mean comments about me behind my back and treated me badly. For a good while I wasn’t invited to hang out with my friends at the mall, the movies, parks etc. It was really hard and I absolutely hated it. I feel you guys who’ve been bullied.

Do not be afraid to speak up if you or someone you know is being treated badly. You are one voice and hopefully you will be heard. I wish I could promise that you’ll be heard and the bully will be taken care of, but unfortunately, our schools aren’t always ready to take action. I am so sorry to say that. I will say sometimes bullying can get easier to take. Sure, it’ll hurt but you eventually will have two ways to handle it: you’ll get stronger from it and/or ignore them. Easier said than done, right?

Always remember these truths: you are perfect. You are loved. You were made this way for a reason. You, my dear child, are never alone.

Friends are so important to have, but make sure to listen to your parents about your friends. They know things to look for in a good friend. Good friends stand up for you — in front of you and behind your back. I’m not saying they won’t change, because some friends are only around for a short period of time, but others stick by you for a lifetime.

As I wrote this letter, I had YouTube on and a song started playing, “Invisible” by Hunter Hayes. It’s the song that got me through middle school and high school when I was bullied and excluded. Listen to it sometime. I know I didn’t believe that the pain would fade, but over time and after many positive experiences, it actually did. You’re going to have a great year — despite any hardships that may come. You. Got. This.

— A Young Adult With Cerebral Palsy

Getty image by Jaren Wicklund.

Originally published: April 5, 2023
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