Cerebral palsy (CP) is not just a day-by-day reality it has a moment-by-moment impact in people’s lives—not just in the lives of those with CP, but among families and caregivers, as well. Whether or not one of our community members has a fulfilling life has just as much to do with the quality of that life.
Access to tools and products
There are, of course, many specific products—including non-spill cups, the ability to type on a computer using an eye scanner, or an electric wheelchair—that can have a powerful effect on the quality of life of our community members. Our most recent World CP Day competition, for example, illustrated the need for a safer living environment by suggesting the possibility of a ‘sponge house’. But the needs of most of our community members are much more extensive and basic. What, for example, is to be done when a person who lives in a country in which adult diapers (nappies) are simply not available?
Access to information
Where can a parent go to get advice about the best way to care for their child? Where can a traveler find information about the most accessible tourist attractions? Where can a man with CP learn to become a writer for the local paper? Where can a teenager get access to the film, Margarita with a Straw or Enter the Faun, to find the inspiration to live their own life? Where can a woman get advice about how to become a standup comedian? The sea of needs, and the questions that arise from those needs, are vast. But it almost assured that they have been asked and answered by other members of our global community.
Access to support
Sometimes an ‘advanced’ society has become that way at the expense of the kind of familial and community networks that have historically supported individuals and families. In other societies, there are no support networks because of the stigma surrounding disability or the inability of people to connect across physical and digital divides. We have the chance to build supportive communities—first online, and eventually ‘on the ground’—that can help improve the social, economic and personal quality of life for people with CP.