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Cerebral Palsy

Living with Cerebral PalsyWhen Friends Or Family Members Have Cp

Often, when we meet someone with cerebral palsy, we don't know how to react to him or her. What do you do if you can't understand what a person is saying? What do you do if you see a person with a disability having trouble in the street? How do you help a person with a disability? Should you, even?

The following are some examples of questions people might have about interacting with someone with CP, and some general rules and hints about disability etiquette—the appropriate way of handling yourself in regard to a person with a disability:

  • How do I talk to someone who has cerebral palsy? In exactly the same way as you would talk to anyone else the same age. There is no need to yell or speak slowly And although you may be surprised by the way the person walks or talks, remember, the person is pretty used to his or her disability and is probably hoping that you can see beyond it.
  • What do I do if I can't understand what someone says? Don't pretend that you can understand when you can't. Let the person know that you didn't understand or hear what was said, and ask the person to repeat what he or she said. Remember, it's always easier to understand what's being said if you look at the person while he or she is talking.
  • How do I talk to someone who can't speak? Just because a person can't speak, it doesn't mean that he or she can't hear or understand what you're saying. Most people with cerebral palsy can understand normal speech, even if they don't speak themselves.
  • What do I do if someone seems to be having trouble walking or managing a wheelchair? If someone seems to be having difficulty, you might want to offer some assistance. But if the person refuses, then just leave it alone. Never help without asking first! Many people with CP are perfectly happy managing on their own; they just need a little extra time.
  • How do I shake hands with someone with cerebral palsy? Since people with CP sometimes have trouble controlling their movements, or hold their hands in an unusual way, a simple thing like a handshake can sometimes cause embarrassment or confusion for the person without cerebral palsy. If someone with CP holds out a hand for a handshake, then shake it, exactly the way you would anyone else's hand! However, not everybody wants to shake hands, and people with CP are no exception. The rules for personal contact with someone with a disability are exactly the same as they are with anyone else. Don't feel like you have to stand back, but don't force yourself on someone, either.
  • If I shake hands with someone with cerebral palsy, can I catch it? Absolutely not! Cerebral palsy is not contagious. It is not a sickness or a disease.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaCerebral PalsyCerebral Palsy - Living with Cerebral Palsy - What Do You Mean, A “treatment Plan”?, Working Together, Dealing With Feelings, When Friends Or Family Members Have Cp