Cerebral palsy makes me different. Different is a relative term here as many of my experiences were the same as my peers – I attended mainstream school and went to mainstream classes. But I was always keenly aware of the differences. When I was younger simple things like using the washroom meant that I had to wait for my educational assistant to become available and she only worked afternoons. Other academic differences for me was I was allowed in the later years the use of a calculator, early on they wouldn’t, the idea being I should be able to learn the multiplication tables: for the record I have some of them memorized but not all it just apparently doesn’t make sense to how my brain sees patterns. This being said, I am a human phone book. If I dial a number once it is committed to memory. Even numbers that for people that no longer have that number are still in my head along with their new one! I got to figure out where that delete button is!
Also the disability makes me invisible. I am not sure if people think that my cognition is impacted by the cerebral palsy but they take it upon themselves to often talk over my head to the person I am with. I will explain some examples of real life situations: when in college I went and did an additional certification in Microsoft office products at the training the receptionist talked over my head to my mom who was there acting as my ride home. I don’t know if I had a sign on my forehead that said yes I have a disability so feel free to treat me in a different way than you would others because clearly given my cerebral palsy I don’t a word you are saying to me.” Yet in order to do the tests I was there to do I had to attend mainstream school, college to be exact. Where did that woman learn it was an okay thing to treat me as different because of my disability? I went on to complete the tests and in September returned to complete my college education where the professor asked if anyone had gone and completed the optional testing I was the only one in my class that raised my hand the girl behind me turned to the girl beside her and said: “if Laura can do it, it must be easy!” Why do people see the fact that my disability makes me different and then because they clear don’t understand cerebral palsy choose to insult my intelligence? I must somehow magically have been smart enough to attend mainstream school despite my cerebral palsy. Do they somehow think cerebral palsy makes life easier? Life isn’t any easier or harder because of cerebral palsy the disability is all I know. I love that I had the opportunity to attend mainstream school