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How My Life Combats Stereotypes About Cerebral Palsy

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Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement and coordination. There are different severities, but in my case, I am unable to walk or speak. However, assistive technology allows me to live a fulfilling life. In fact, I am in graduate school to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Texas.

There are many misconceptions about cerebral palsy. Due to some of the abnormalities the condition may bring, some people are leery of forming relationships with people who have cerebral palsy. While cognitive delays are possible, this does not mean that everyone with cerebral palsy will be cognitively impaired. In fact, some people with CP have higher IQs than the average population.

Throughout my life, I have overcome many obstacles. I graduated with honors with my Bachelor’s degree in psychology, and I was accepted into two counseling graduate programs at two different universities, even though I cannot speak verbally. I also have worked with children with disabilities who were in general education to ensure that they received the same educational benefits as children without disabilities.

Many people might doubt my abilities to become a counselor because I use an eye tracking device to communicate. However, everyone who crosses my path has told me that I have made an impact on their lives. Therefore, I feel that my experiences will help me to assist those who struggle with mental illness. I may have to overcome hurdles to accomplish my dream, but I will not let them stop me from helping people.

Once people begin to change their negative beliefs about people with disabilities, misconceptions will diminish and inclusion will rise. We are called to love each other despite our differences, and when this happens, we begin to see that people with disabilities are just like everyone else.

Originally published: June 17, 2018
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