cerebral palsy made my college classmates uncomfortable

Cerebral palsy makes me different. Different is a relative term here as many of my experiences were the┬ásame 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


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About lifeofthedifferentlyabled

Laura Forde founded her blog through my eyes: my life with cerebral palsy in December 2009 out of a great need she had, realizing that there was a vast gap in firsthand accounts of what life was like living with Cerebral Palsy: she knew then that the only way to see this reflected online was to create the change herself and thus this blog was born Laura was born four months premature, weighing a mere one pound three ounces and given ten percent odds for survival. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of three. After graduating from college, she continued writing and doing what she loves to do most; speaking to groups about her life experiences and sharing what she has learned from her journey. Her blog lifeofthedifferentlyabled was created after discovering that the online community lacked the voice of people in her situation. In its first year, the site saw over 20,000 hits from all over the world. Her readers are from all walks of life; some with disabilities, parents of children, professionals, and others who seek to gain a better understanding of the world of the differently abled. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook
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5 Responses to cerebral palsy made my college classmates uncomfortable

  1. Mason Wild says:

    I find that I am you when it comes to phone numbers. I can easily remember them but there harder to forget.

  2. Rosie says:

    Hey Laura,
    I know what you mean, for me I have a learning disability in reading and writing. Most people don’t see it because its not a visible disability. People don’t get that my bran processes a little slowler and takes me a bit to under stand. Today in this world I find that people just look and judge the way you are.
    Even when I go to woodworking shows. I am with my brother they always think that he is into woodworking not me. I just am willing to show what I know and capable of doing, even if it takes me longer to do. Always do the best that you can do and be proud of who you are.
    Hope all is well and have a great long weekend.

  3. I share my experiences with mild CP inside a mainstream classroom in my book (out on the Kindle & Nook) Off Balanced, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LUAPBM

  4. Claudia says:

    It’s a great shame that our attitude toward CP still requires some thinking. Though awareness is increasing day by day. It’s a great sign I think.

  5. Eva says:

    It’s society’s duty to ensure proper right & respect for CP. By ensuring the same view for each and every person, we can proceed to a better world. My friend I’m sorry for what you had suffered during college. Best of luck to you.

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