An article by Jessica Burke

I believe research is the perfect way to educate and create awareness of cerebral palsy and its relation with psychological health. As a young adult with CP, conducting research in the field of psychology and providing insights that have important implications for intervention, paediatrics, teaching and clinical practice is not only significantly important but very exciting and powerful. it gives me a voice and hopefully a voice for others with cerebral Palsy.

My experience of living with Spastic quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and the impact it had on my psychological wellbeing was the reason I decided to study psychology and the neuroscientific mechanics of the brain in an effort to devote myself to research in particularly investigating psychological health of adults with CP. It took me quite a while to open up to my lectures my goal of wanting to devote myself to research in cp and psychological health. The research was so limited, and still is and nobody ever talked about mental health and Cerebral Palsy. During my undergraduate in psychology the lecturers would discuss different mental health disorders like schizophrenia or depression for example and I was always very occupied sitting at the back of the class pondering how this may relate to cp and making associations between CP and mental health challenges. I then went on to study clinical neuroscience as I was particularly interested in gaining an understanding into the anatomy and physiology of the human brain and body with these too being significantly important in understanding cerebral palsy. It was here I wanted to translate what I leant in the different modules such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neuropsychiatry to name a few to how it may relate to CP physically, psychology and socially. I then went on to study an MA in psychology where I conducted my first major research project on adults with cerebral palsy. I enjoyed every second of conducting the research. I was suddenly connected with people with CP, experts and caregivers who all wanted the same thing of creating more research in mental health an CP. It was a fantastic experience. It also became evident that through all my studies that lecturers and classmates had very little knowledge of CP let alone how it is related with mental health. I felt relieved talking about as I think they were all learning something too.

I love my position of being both a researcher in psychology and neuroscience and a young adult with CP. You have something more than those who studied CP at medical school, a deeper understanding that you would never learn from any textbook. It is crazy getting to work with experts in CP and make decisions from a medical perspective. Growing up with cp your looking up to the team of experts and relying on them to make the best decision for you and for your future. In my early years of my studies the goal seemed so far away its surreal to have gotten this far and achieved the qualifications I wanted, nevertheless my goals are endless, but that’s what gives me strength. I am only somewhere at the beginning. I will continue to contribute to the literature in psychology, neuroscience and Cerebral Palsy and hopefully create an easier future for those who are born and grow up with the condition. For those who are going through such difficulties or already have I hope with my research they can start to find order and meaning in their experience and know that their not alone and can find an ability to reconstruct the strong, defeatless, worthy person they are. I hope others with Cerebral Palsy can too feel inspired and empowered to make their mark in the world because Cerebral Palsy is so important in teaching the world.

An article by Tylia Flores

It’s no secret that technology has taken over the world in the way we had to connect with the world and adapt to the many things around us.

I have always had to use different types of technology to help me adapt to the world around me as someone with cerebral palsy.

I first got introduced to using technology to help me adapt to my everyday life was when I was in the first grade when my teacher noticed that I had a difficult time with handwriting due to my lack of mobility.

So after many failed attempts of trying to occupational therapy to correct the issue of having lack mobility when it came to handwriting and tracing letters, my 1st-grade teacher decided to call my parents for an IEP meeting.

During the IEP meeting, it was determined that I would be given an alpha smart to type with the alpha smart was like a small little keyboard just like you would have it on the computer but without access to the internet and all that good stuff.

I remember being so excited to get the alpha smart so that I didn’t have to have someone help me write my ABC’s I could be an independent student.

But it wasn’t easy learning how to use the alpha smart because I would type very slowly and because the tip of my swan fingers would hurt every time I would touch the keyboard I hated it so much. After all, it had a small screen and couldn’t see what I was typing.

On top of that, the Alpha smart had little accessibility options for me and as someone with Cerebral palsy with lack of mobility it could become overwhelming for us and using the alpha smart did get overwhelming for me and I didn’t enjoy doing my schoolwork and adapting to the world around me as someone with Cerebral palsy.

But luckily, in the 4th grade, my opinion and my heart changed when it came to technology after transferring to a different elementary where they gave me an apple ibookg4 laptop to use for my school work and everyday activities.

Immediately when receiving the ibookg4 model of the Apple laptop I fell in love with it and all the programs on it that had accessibility options to help me adapt to the world and my cerebral palsy.

I felt like the possibilities are endless when opening my MacBook pro every day as I gained the confidence to leave my mark and say take it or leave it this is me my story my way of leaving my mark on society.

As an author, Advocate, Radio show using technology such as Apple products have been it easier to allow my creativity to come out more without worrying about my cerebral palsy being an obstacle in front of me .

I honestly will be forever grateful for technology and the way it has helped me lived my life with Cerebral palsy.

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