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Deaf People with Cerebral Palsy

More Common Than You Might Think

By

Updated August 15, 2010

Deaf people with cerebral palsy have been a part of my life ever since elementary school, when I neither understood cerebral palsy nor knew the name. When I was in the fourth grade, there was a deaf girl named Lisa. Lisa had difficulty walking but I thought she was the same as me because her cerebral palsy was not that severe. I still remember urging her to play hopscotch with me, and Lisa saying "I can't do it!" Lisa would sometimes cry in frustration when we tried to play together, and I would sometimes lose my patience with her.

In addition, one of my children's deaf friends has cerebral palsy that has meant frequent surgeries. Fortunately, his cerebral palsy is mild enough that he is able to be included in everything that the other deaf children do, but he does have some limitations. For example, when the children were small and doing what small children do, this child was not able to run around with them and had to sit around alone a lot of the time.

So, I was very excited to discover the Cerebral Palsy and Deaf Organization(CPADO). Just what we need! A web site where deaf people with cerebral palsy can unite, speak out, and be role models for the deaf children out there learning to live with cerebral palsy, whether or not they have cerebral palsy.

The first thing you see when you enter the CPADO web site is a large color photograph of deaf adults with cerebral palsy. At least a few of them looked familiar to me. They are looking for material on cerebral palsy and deafness, but until they find more material, they provide links to general cerebral palsy organizations.

The best part of the site is the autobiography section. These autobiographies give a really clear picture of what it is like to be deaf and have cerebral palsy. Examples:

  • Webmaster and Washingtonian Bill Mathewes - Successful in his career and still single, he almost died at birth.
  • Rubella baby Kelly Madsen - A lady who uses two crutches to walk.
  • Mike Dorsey - Writes of his struggle to accept both his CP and his deafness after a carefree early childhood.

The remainder of the site is devoted to exploding mythsabout cerebral palsy. There is also an explanation of the abbreviation "CP," which according to this organization does not stand for "Cerebral Palsy" but something else!

The About Deafness forum has a deafness and cerebral palsy discussion thread.

Here are a few more links on the subject.

Note: Much of the information above came from the website CPADO.org, but the site appears to have gone down.

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