Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Updated: Apr 4

Jazzy reflects on her and her friends and family's experiences with Cerebral Palsy, and asks us to wear green March 25, 2022.


March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month! Hooray! Families, friends, and organizations celebrate people who have Cerebral Palsy and spread awareness. Cerebral Palsy (also known as CP) is a group of disorders that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance. This disability can affect people’s speech, balance, walking, and many other areas. Cerebral Palsy is not a genetic disability. People celebrate this month because they want to give awareness to others, see positive changes in the education system, health care system and job market so people can have more opportunities in these areas.


Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month started in 2006 by Reaching for the Stars (RFTS) (a parent volunteer advocacy group). In the article, “Celebrating National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month” from the website, Cerebral Palsy.org,the advocacy group recognized the month of March National Cerebral Palsy Month and designated March 25th as Cerebral Palsy Day. RFTS also recognized green as a color that symbolizes CP awareness. Buildings from all over the world have been lit up green to celebrate March 25th, even Niagara Falls have gone green according to the Cerebral Palsy.org. Social media services, such as Instagram and Snapchat created a hashtag called #GoGreen4CP to encourage people to use the hashtag to tell others about CP.

I have, as well as some of my friends and family members, Cerebral Palsy. I asked them for an interview to share their experiences and perspective on having CP. Each person’s experience is unique.

My first interview was with Sydney Hendel, a 20-year old woman who is living with Cerebral Palsy in Pennsylvania.

Q: How do you feel about having CP? Do you feel insecure at times? Do you feel happy at times?

SH: “As a child, I used to not think or feel that I was different from everyone else. I was very happy and confident until I was 13 years old in 7th grade. I started to realize I was different because people treated me differently than everyone else, which led me to become insecure about my disability.” She became more aware of her “ surroundings” and felt insecure since she felt like “my peers were not giving me a chance to be part of their groups or they would be fake and pessimistic with me.” Her peers, especially girls, would talk to her in a “high-pitched voice” and “assume I didn’t know what they were talking about.” She then talked about how peers would exclude her from group projects. “Middle and high school were the hardest years of my life that I went through due to my insecurities of having Cerebral Palsy.” She said that she has learned to appreciate her disability and not look at it as a negative aspect in her life. She said, “I acknowledge all my accomplishments and how far I have come. I have become more confident about who I am as an individual and I am a lot happier these days than I have ever been, especially as compared to my teenage years. I am more cognizant of how much I have grown over the years and have become a stronger person because of my disability.”

Q: What is your biggest challenge with CP? How do you deal with it? Have you overcome it? (You can have more than one challenge)

SH: “My biggest challenge with Cerebral Palsy is attaining a job. Specifically, my perception is that it seems like many employers are not giving me a chance due to my physical limitations.” She handled this with maturity and she overcame this feeling of self-doubt and sadness by thinking positively and that she will obtain better opportunities in the future. She said, “I am working on getting more experience so I can qualify for employment.” She also said that her physical limitations were another challenge of hers. “It makes it very difficult to freely go somewhere on my own. Also, it prevents me from being able to drive. However, I still try to live life to the fullest by experiencing new things in life.”

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment? Why is it important to you? (You can have more than one accomplishment)

SH: “My biggest accomplishment is becoming more independent. It is essential for me to get as independent as possible because as I get older; I will not always have my parents around. I want to be able to live independently, and I would like to have a family of my own one day. In order to accomplish this, I have to learn how to and be able to take care of myself so that I am an independent person in society. I am making progress towards independence each day.”


My second interview was with a person in FHS who wants to be anonymous and has Cerebral Palsy.

Q: How do you feel about having Cerebral Palsy? Do you feel insecure at times? Do you feel happy at times?

A: “In India, I didn’t have a ‘normal’ childhood. There is not a lot of accessibility for people with physical disabilities. I’m thankful to my parents because they always tried to make me happy and do their best. When I came to the U.S., everything changed.”

Q: What is your biggest challenge and accomplishments with Cerebral Palsy? How do you deal with it? Have you overcome it? (You can have more than one challenge)

A: "It all depends on the situation--like how people play sports, like basketball. I wanted to do it, but I can’t. When I tried, I always got hurt, especially in 8th grade. I was scared even to go to my 8th grade gym class. Now I don’t feel insecure because in 9th grade, we started a special gym class where we could both do activities. Also, a big accomplishment was going to school. I didn’t go [to school] in my country. My accomplishments include experiencing life, making friends, and being in Honors classes.”

Q: What has Cerebral Palsy taught you?

A: “CP is just one thing that doesn't prevent you from living a normal life.”

Q: What do you want people to know about Cerebral Palsy? How do you think having people more aware of Cerebral Palsy will help you and the community?

A: “A lot of people with CP have a different way of looking at life and experiences, but at the end of the day, we are all the same and we are here to help each other. People who don’t know about CP make judgments about people with CP before knowing them. There’s a saying--Put yourselves in their shoes before you say something.”


Another interview was with my cousin, LeQuina Knox who is twenty-nine years old and has Cerebral Palsy.

Q: What is your biggest challenge with Cerebral Palsy? How do you deal with it? Have you overcome it? (You can have more than one challenge)

A: “Most of my challenges are based on how people perceive me in society. People often make assumptions about my intelligence due to my disability. For example, when I was in college, I would come across people who couldn’t comprehend that I was a student. While I do not feel like I have overcome these challenges, I have learned to navigate them.”

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment? Why is it important to you? (You can have more than one accomplishment)

A: “While I have many accomplishments, the two I am most proud of are obtaining my master’s degree and helping my cousin to learn how to advocate for herself. I never thought I would be in a position to help others with disabilities.”

Q: What has Cerebral Palsy taught you?

A: “Keep calm and roll on! But seriously, having Cerebral Palsy has taught me the value of building community and the importance of being able to mentor others.”

Q: What do you want people to know about Cerebral Palsy? How do you think having people more aware of Cerebral Palsy will help you and the community?

A: “I would want people to realize that people with CP are diverse and we can have many different challenges, but we know how to adapt to any situation. Also, I hope that once people learn more about Cerebral palsy awareness they’ll stop treating us as inspirations, and start seeing us as individuals with full lives.”

While many people have Cerebral Palsy, their individual stories are so unique and special. Each person with CP is different and has a different perspective on life. They want people to be aware of CP so that people won’t judge them and assume that they cannot understand them.

PHOTO CRED: Cerebral Palsy Canada Network



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