What’s the first that comes to your mind when you hear “Cerebral Palsy?” Most people think it’s a progressive disease affecting cognitive functions. However, this is not the case at all.
Let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what this disability actually means.
Even though cerebral palsy causes impaired muscle coordination which can, in some cases, result in the loss of ability to walk and speak, what most people don’t understand is that CP comes about from a one-time brain injury.
As a result, a neurological condition appears that effects physical impairment. However, this impairment is non-progressive and will not get worse over time.
Children and adults living with cerebral palsy are just like the average human, except their bodies are harder to control.
Ultimately, this makes them pretty brave people. They still learn and understand the same way — they may just not look the same as everyone else.
A further look into living with Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a disability caused by an abnormal brain deformation or a brain injury usually before birth. It affects your movement and muscle control, which causes spasms, rigid limbs, magnified reflexes and involuntary movements. While it can’t be cured, it can get better with treatment.
It is the most common of all childhood diseases and affects 3 out of every 1,000 live births in the United States. This leaves us with around 764,000 people living with cerebral palsy in the world today.
CP happens before/after birth or after an accident that significantly impacts part of your brain. It could even be a case of medical malpractice, and in this case, you’ll want to get a cerebral palsy lawyer.
So, you’re probably wondering what does all of this mean? What is it like for someone living with cerebral palsy? And, will it affect the amount of time someone will live?
Life Expectancy with CP
The first thing people usually ask when either getting diagnosed with CP or knowing someone that gets diagnosed with it is, “how long does this mean I’ll/they’ll live?”
Simply put, CP does not limit your life span and does not take years off of your life. Though, it will require many more doctors appointments and assisted ways to go about life.
The only chance for life expectancy to drop in people with CP is due to the mismanagement of the symptoms and not getting the proper therapy.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s case of CP is different and along with this, everyone’s life span will be different too. However, CP isn’t something that takes years off your life. It’s not a disease and it doesn’t progress.
Remember that CP isn’t life-threatening and with the proper care and management of your individual conditions, you can still live out your dreams and aspirations.
CP is different for everyone
We’ve already said this, but it’s so true — cerebral palsy affects everyone in different ways. There is no one symptom everyone with CP will have. It’s an individual-based disorder.
So, this means that your therapy and your plan to conquer CP will be different than someone else’s.
Let’s take this example: one child diagnosed with CP experiences speech impairments, in turn losing the ability to speak while another child diagnosed with CP has extreme muscle spasms and requires to be in a wheelchair at all times.
These are two extremely different cases. And, while symptoms can be on opposite ends of the spectrum, so can the severity levels.
CP usually happens from an impact to the brain at birth and every impact will affect parts of the brain differently. There are many mild cases of CP and then there are extreme cases, it really just depends on the individual.
People with CP function just like everyone else
If people that have CP could tell you one thing, it would be that they really aren’t much different from the average person after all.
They may look different in their wheelchair or talk different with their speech impairment, but they function and think the same just like anyone else.
If you want to learn anything from this article, it should be that people with CP shouldn’t be looked at differently simply because they aren’t.
Most people living with CP go on to live happily and normally functioning lives while accomplishing great things. They just fight through the pain and combat their mobility. That’s pretty awesome.
CP shouldn’t stop you from doing the things you love
Fourteen-year-old, Jordan is living with CP and wants everyone to know that even though life can be hard sometimes, she loves it and it doesn’t stop her from doing the things she loves. Read her full story from some great inspiration.
Besides the fact that Jordan uses a wheelchair and speaking tablet, she still participates in her favorite activities and never stops smiling.
Having a positive attitude and telling yourself “you can do this” on a daily basis plays a big part in all of this. If you live with CP, you need to know it shouldn’t stop you.
Look at Maximillian Wollner, a now 25-year-old living with CP, making the best of his condition and still doing what he loved at a young age. He was able to join his neighborhood swim team and play baseball just by telling himself he could do it.
Today, he holds a communication degree, a job, and advocates for finding a cure for CP.
Cerebral Palsy never wins
If all of this didn’t inspire you, I’m not sure what will. Whether we live with CP or know someone that lives with it, it’s important to know what to expect and how to spread awareness about this condition.
While no one chooses to live with this disability, 764,00 are surviving with it in the world today. What we should take from this is that CP should never win.
Even though some cases are better or worse than others, it’s all about how you choose to overcome it. Yes, you can expect a more difficult life than the average person, but you can be satisfied to know that it won’t stop you from being the best you can be.
What would you tell people to expect when living with cerebral palsy? Share your inspiring tales with us!