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The Mistake I'm Not Repeating as I Enter High School With Cerebral Palsy

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Recently I started my freshman year of high school, and to be honest, I was extremely nervous. It was a new school, new students, but the same questions about “What happened to you?” and explaining my cerebral palsy all over again. This school is huge; there’s a lot more walking for me and some teachers who don’t yet understand that it takes me a little extra time to get around. So of course I was nervous to begin with.

My thoughts on how to handle it were to just be myself and not hide anything. When I was smaller, I used to hope no one would notice and just try to blend in and hide the fact I had CP. But this was the worst decision I ever made in my life. So this I started out, day one, by being completely upfront about why I walk the way I do. On the first day, each teacher asked us to tell one fact about ourselves, and my fact was I have cerebral palsy and I have a Facebook awareness page called A Stairway to the Stars: Heaven’s Journey With CP. In that way I answered a whole classroom full of questions and put it out there for everyone to know. The most surprising thing was the amount of respect I got from a lot of the kids and the amount of understanding it brought. I have already made quite a few new friends, and so far the year is going great!

The point of my story is: how can we expect others to understand if we don’t explain? This was my big mistake in elementary school. Trying to fit in and pretend I didn’t have a disability did not work well. The kids never understood because I never tried to help them understand. Of course not everyone will understand or even care to try, but you will be surprised what a difference this makes. This is my advice to anyone entering a new school this year. Just be yourself! Believe in yourself and others will follow, and most importantly, have fun! Hope you all have an amazing school year!

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Photo by contributor.

Originally published: September 13, 2017
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