When I was 30 days old, the doctors took Mum and Dad into a small room and told them.
The doctors said I had moderate bi-lateral, posterior periventricular leukomalacia.
Some people hear that I have brain damage and they think that means I have an intellectual impairment. They think I can't understand. They think I can't learn.
That's not true.
My brain damage does not impact on my ability to learn.
My brain damage impacts on the way my brain sends messages to my muscles.
The messages from my brain get confused and they get lost.
Because of my brain damage, I have trouble making my legs, arms, hands, feet and head move in the ways I want them to.
That's why I have lots of physiotherapy. I'm trying to retrain my brain, to help it send stronger messages.
Some people hear that I have brain damage and they hear that I am non-verbal. Many people think that because I can't talk, I am not clever.
They think I don't understand, because I don't answer.
They underestimate me.
I have cerebral palsy because my brain got damaged.
It got damaged when it didn't get enough oxygen.
Once, parents with a child with cerebral palsy were advised to leave their child in the hospital, because they couldn't learn.
Once, people believed that anyone with cerebral palsy didn't have to go to school, because they couldn't learn.
And then, Christy Brown picked up a piece of chalk, with his left foot (this was the one part of his body that would listen to the messages his brain sent.) Christy Brown wrote a book. He called it 'My Left Foot'.
(He wrote other books and poems, too.)
And, a guy named Korey wrote a cheeky speech for his brother, on his wedding night. Korey is non-verbal and has cerebral palsy. He's in a wheelchair and has trouble telling his muscles what to do. But, Korey's speech made everyone laugh. And cry.
And, a lady named Huang Yang was born in China. Because she had cerebral palsy, she wasn't sent to school. People believed she couldn't learn. She proved them wrong when she wrote a book. She called it 'Greet You with a Smile'. It took her three years to write this book. She wrote it using her nose and her chin!
It's awful when people dismiss me, or under-estimate me, because they read that I have brain damage.
I do have brain damage.
But, my brain damage does not impact on my learning.
I can learn.
It's Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.
Challenge - Can you tell three people about cerebral palsy?
Can you tell them that brain damage does not necessarily mean a person cannot learn? Can you tell them that brain damage might just impact on the way the brain sends messages to the muscles?
#DextersReality #braindamage #cerebralpalsy #clever
Dexter’s Darkest Days
I Didn’t Tell Dad I Love Him
Today, I Just Want To Be A Mum
For My Sister
My Sister Knows
Why Lifting Me Up Feels Like Letting Me Down
My Sister is Four
Stuck in a Rut
Embrace the Lion
Open Letter Thanking Parents for the Parties
I’m a Kindy Kid! Kindergarten in Review
Dexter's First Month
Dexter's Cerebral Palsy
Who is Dexter?
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