Growing up with CP

Hi! My name is Kelly and I am eighteen years old. I graduated from high school in June and will begin college in the fall. Last year I studied very difficult subjects, including physics, Advanced Placement English, and two foreign lanugages. I have taken class trips to Mexico and Costa Rica and spent three weeks living with a family in France. I also have cerebral palsy (CP).

CP is a disability that interferes with my walking, speech, and motor control. Doctors told my parents that I had CP when I was fifteen months old and said that I might never walk or talk and that I could be mentally retarded. They were wrong. I soon began having therapy many times each week to help me learn to speak and to move more easily. Although I walk differently and sometimes it is hard to understand what I’m saying, I can now do almost everything that other people can do.

I have always been the only disabled student in my school and I have many friends. I like to listen to music, play on the computer, read books, and watch basketball. I can’t wait to go to college because I will always be with my friends and my parents won’t be there to tell me what to do. Also, I can study to be a teacher or counselor so that when I grow up I can help other disabled people and their families.

One of the hardest things about having a disability is that some people tease me or treat me inappropriately just because I walk and talk differently. They believe that because I have trouble moving I am stupid and I don’t have feelings. As I grow older, I understand that people stare, point, and laugh mostly because they are confused and often afraid of those who are different. Thus, I believe that one of my personal goals should be to teach them that my difference is not a tragedy, but instead can enrich and give meaning to my life. While I obviously have a disability, I also have an incredibly supportive family, lots of people who care about me, and many opportunities for happiness and success. In this respect, I am a truly fortunate human being.