The Mighty Logo

7 Lessons My Disability Taught Me

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 2, and throughout my journey, my disability has taught me many lessons that have helped me in my everyday life. Here are seven lessons I’ve learned from my cerebral palsy:

1. Disability doesn’t have to define you.

Although I have cerebral palsy, I have never allowed it to stop me or define my life. Instead, it’s caused me to be an overachiever. Despite my cerebral palsy, I was always involved in sports, chorus and theater, and through my activities, I learned my disability doesn’t define me.

2. Society can sometimes be cruel, but don’t let that stop you.

When I was growing up, I sometimes came across people who judged me for being different. Still, I’ve learned to ignore them, and I don’t let negative people stop me from living a normal life.

Tylia at a St.Patrick's Day festival with a performer on stilts.

3. A wheelchair is just a chair.

I’ve been a wheelchair user for my whole life. Over the years, though, I’ve realized my wheelchair is just a chair. It’s there to help me get around and is basically a replacement for my legs. Over the years, I’ve learned not to be angry at it but instead to embrace it.

4. “Hakuna Matata” is the best motto.

“Hakuna Matata,” which means “no worries,” is the best motto to live by, especially when you have a disability. When I have to visit my specialists, I don’t always get the best news, but every time I feel discouraged, I remember “Hakuna Matata” and let my worries disappear.

5. Your challenges make the best life lessons.

It’s no secret that I’ve faced many challenges. I’ve been bullied and felt like an outcast my whole life. Little did I know that I could use my difficult experiences to become a disability advocate. I’m happy my experiences pushed me to spread disability awareness!

6. Always keep going.

Living with a disability isn’t an easy road, but regardless of the obstacles you face, you have to keep going. Always face your challenges head-on and fight for what you believe is right.

7. You’re the author of your own life.

When I was born, the doctors weren’t sure if I would live for more than 24 hours. Little did they know that was just the beginning. I’ve learned I can take my life in any direction I want and I’m enjoying writing all the exciting chapters of my life story!

Tylia sitting in her wheelchair, smiling.

Originally published: November 5, 2019
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home