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    13 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Cerebral Palsy

    My name is Kendrick Williams and I have Cerebral Palsy. People think a lot of things when they see that I have a disability. Most of those things aren't true. People with Cerebral Palsy can follow their dreams like everyone else!

    1. You get diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a baby.

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    You can't catch cerebral palsy. It is not like the flu. It’s not genetic. You can't give it to your children. When a baby is being born, sometimes it does not get enough air. That’s what causes Cerebral Palsy. Most people get diagnosed around two years old. The doctor’s diagnosed me when I was one year old, so that’s even younger.

    2. Cerebral Palsy effects different parts of your body.

    There are three different ways cerebral palsy affects people. It can affect your legs only, your legs and your arms or only one half of your body-- like your right leg and your right arm or your left leg and your left arm.

    3. Cerebral Palsy does not affect your personality.

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    I’m still the same person! I Have dreams, goals, and accomplishments I want to reach just like every other person.

    4. Cerebral Palsy affects the way your brain works with your muscles.

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    Cerebral Palsy can make your muscles feel too tight or make you wobbly and shaky. It makes it hard to balance sometimes.

    5. Stretching daily helps loosen up your body.

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    The more you stretch, the stronger you get. I go to Physical Therapy, ride stationary bikes, and walk on treadmills to loosen up my muscles. It helps me not hurt as much. Even if you don’t have Cerebral Palsy, you should stretch every day.

    6. People with Cerebral Palsy have to go to the doctor… a lot!

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    Sometimes I have 2-3 doctor’s appointments in a week and I can’t miss ANY. They’re very important. I have different doctors for different things. I have a doctor for common things like colds and the flu, I have a doctor that gives me botox shots every three months that loosen up my muscles. I have also been to surgeons.

    7. ⅓ people with Cerebral Palsy can't walk.

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    I can walk with my walker and without my walker. The walker helps me keep my balance so I don’t have to hold on to other people. It helps me be more independent so I don’t have to lean on railings or other people. Some people with Cerebral Palsy have less motor skills and need a wheelchair or a power chair all the time.

    8. Cerebral Palsy can slow you down.

    It takes me longer to get out of bed because my muscles hurt and I get so tired. It also takes me longer to switch classes because I have to pack up all my stuff. Some kids take a long time to put on their clothes and shoes. Other kids have a hard time getting out of the tub and might slip and fall.

    9. Cerebral Palsy makes it hard to write or type.

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    It took me a long time to learn to write, but I learned to print AND write in cursive. Some kids have devices that help them write or type because if the cerebral palsy affects their hands typing or using a pencil might not work for them. In school, I have a special teacher that helps me type or write, but I like to do things by myself.

    10. People with Cerebral Palsy don't always need help.

    We tend to be very independent, and we like to do things on our own. Don’t try to help us with every little thing. I can put my food in the microwave and carry my own stuff. I clean my own room and do my own laundry. I like to play video games and walk to the park with my friends. I’m just a regular teenager.

    11. There are 17 million people in the world with Cerebral Palsy.

    Out of all 17 million, only 1 out of 3 can walk. Some people have a lot of support and good families that take care of them and some people have a nurse that comes to help them every day, and some people have to figure everything out all alone.

    12. People with Cerebral Palsy don't feel different than other people.

    We have feelings just like any other person. We go through things normal people go through. We can fall in love, get depressed, make friends and achieve our goals.

    13. Cerebral Palsy inspires you to work harder and get stronger.

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    I wake up every day knowing I’m going to work hard! It’s like I’m at the gym all day every day. Someday I want to buy my parents a house, start a business, and get my dream car. Living with Cerebral Palsy makes me feel like I can accomplish my goals. I will work hard to make my dreams come true.