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Mandy has Cerebral Palsy, which is also known as CP. Cerebral Palsy is caused by the abnormal development, or an injury, to the parts of the brain that control movement and muscle coordination. CP’s symptoms can affect the way people walk, and the way they talk as well. It’s a brain disorder that has life long implications causing many challenges that a person has to face every day.
When Mandy was born she was immediately diagnosed with CP, and she almost died in the hospital. But, even then, just like now, she never gave up. She spent her first seven days in the NICU (the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) until finally, on Thanksgiving Day, her parents were able to take her home!
At the first elementary school she attended, although she tried her best, she had a very tough time. She had a lot of trouble walking, and, when she fell down – which happened quite a bit – all the other kids would laugh at her. She’s ask her self, “Why is everyone laughing at me?” She could not understand why kids were being so cruel to her.
The kids in her class were terribly mean and heartless, would call her “stupid” and ask what her problem was and make fun of the way she sounded, and the way she walked. Mean Kids, mean girls and mean people were all around her. Everything that was different about her they somehow found a way to be mean about, make fun of and mock. She was a student too but they all treated her so differently,
This meanness hurt her so badly, she would cry and cry, and her teacher was awful too – really mean – and was impatient and not at all understanding of Mandy’s condition, or the amazing effort it took for her to be there, trying her best, and working hard to overcome the challenges that life with CP presented.
School for Mandy became a really scary place, and she was called names and teased and bullied every single day, and began to hate it, became depressed and upset. And, even though her home was full of love, and her parents were always there to help her and support her, still, it was just too hard for her. She deserved to be there just like anyone else. But she was bullied, made fun of and discriminated against just because she was different. Not less human or not human, just different. People did not have empathy for her and treated her badly and not as a person just like anyone else.
It got to the point where she just wanted to stay home, and so finally she told her Mother how bad things really were for her at school, how mean the kids were, and how unhappy it was making her. “My life is terrible, ” she thought to herself. It was really depressing and awkward for her, causing her anxiety and to be sad. It really hurt. It hurt bad. People’s ignorance and lack of sympathy really got to her. And so, she and her Mom did some research together and went to look at a different school.
This new school was awesome! There were a lot of deaf people who needed to sign just like her, and a few students had Cerebral Palsy too, and finally, maybe for the first time, she didn’t feel so alone. She learned so much there, made her first real friends, and even got to play baseball, which it turns out, she was really good at! She thought, “my life with Cerebral Palsy is so much better than it was before.
Learning to live with CP is hard enough without being in a place where you feel all alone, misunderstood, and made fun of. But changing schools and finding the right place to grow and learn made all the difference – she works hard, her parents are super proud of her, and she is happy, truly happy.
pnl, disease, pdd, hie, brain disorder, spastic paralysis, ballerina syndrome. encephalopathy, discrimination.
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