“I chose to be an actor in my REAL LIFE so I could play many characters, from banker and social worker to homeless person and space alien, and tell many stories in my REEL LIFE where my disability, cerebral palsy, which mildly affects my speech and gait, is incidental to the character or storyline.”
–Diana Elizabeth Jordan, Actress, Writer, Producer and Director
CNN’s 2016 Hero of the Year Jeison Aristizábal and Speechless’
Micah Fowler and Zach Anner also have Cerebral Palsy.
Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a nonprogressive group of disorders that affects an individual’s muscle tone and movement, caused by brain damage before, during birth or within the first few years of a child’s life. People who have cerebral palsy can have mild to severe issues with balance, muscle and motor control, but how cerebral palsy affects each person is very individual. This can include walking (possibly requiring the use of a wheelchair), balance, fine motor and gross motor skills and speech (ranging from very mild to severe). Some people who have cerebral palsy may require accommodations (for example, a ramp) while others may not. It is important to remember to ask an individual what accommodations, if any, he or she may require in a work environment. According to cerebralpalsy.org, about 746,000 children and adults currently have CP.
When talking about someone with CP, say “someone with cerebral palsy” or “someone living with cerebral palsy.” Do not refer to someone as “spastic” or “spaz.”
National organizations for people with CP:
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is an Institute within the National Institutes of Health that aims to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system.
- United Cerebral Palsy educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Its mission is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities through an affiliate network.