National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is celebrated every year in March as an awareness campaign to express support for the ones suffering from Cerebral Palsy. Starting in 2006 by the Cerebral Palsy Advocacy Group, their initiative has pushed for positive changes in the social structures of education, health care, and the job market so that all who suffer from this condition are given adequate opportunities to grow and prosper as any normal, healthy human being. This year, let’s use this month to build as much awareness as possible in as many people so that we can strive towards a better, caring, and tolerant society.
History of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
Cerebral Palsy has affected human beings since the earliest of times. Educated deductions have led scientists to believe that even Siptah — the Pharaoh of Egypt who died at the age of twenty — suffered from cerebral palsy because of his deformed feet and hands. It is thus fair to say that this disorder is not a phenomenon of modern times, but has existed since ancient times.
Medical journals of Greek scholars contain records of certain subjects suffering from paralysis due to weak muscles. The word ‘palsy’ itself is derived from the Greek words, which translate to paralysis. Transitioning from ancient times to relatively modern times, 16th-century medieval paintings have depicted cerebral palsy and related disorders.
As much as it is clear that the disorder has existed throughout history, it was not until the 19th century that the modern understanding of the disorder began to develop. Around this time, accounts were written by various scholars, and information about cerebral palsy began to come to light. Thanks to these accounts, further insights were made into the disorder by advanced learning tools and the field of medical science.
William Osler, a Canadian-born physician, reviewed dozens of cerebral palsy cases and concluded that it was bleeding inside the brain which caused cerebral palsy. This was the first breakthrough in the history of the disorder, as it pinpointed the root cause behind it. Further refinements were made by later scientists, leading to a deeper understanding of the disease and the psychological factors associated with it.
People of all ages suffering from this disorder have also battled social pressures and hostile attitudes. From being bullied in schools to a lack of work opportunities, these people have often been maligned and had to fight for their right to an independent livelihood. To spread awareness about the disorder — and to create a more positive community for these people — Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month has been celebrated annually since 2006.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month timeline
The first description of cerebral palsy is written by Hippocrates, who describes the condition that is prevalent in many children.
Using the works of Hippocrates, Little carries out extensive research on cerebral palsy.
Research begins to determine the prevalence of cerebral palsy and establish what can be done to improve living conditions for people with cerebral palsy.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is declared and has been celebrated every March since.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month FAQs
What are the early signs of cerebral palsy?
Common early signs of cerebral palsy include delays in reaching milestones, abnormal stiffness or floppiness, and differences in posture when compared with other small children.
What is the main cause of cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is caused by a brain disorder or injury that can occur during pregnancy, during birth, or in the first couple of years of a child’s life.
Why do we celebrate the month?
We observe the month to improve community awareness and to educate people about cerebral palsy.
How To Observe National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
Participate in an awareness program
Both adults and children with cerebral palsy can be victims of hostile behavior and misunderstanding. Participate in a campaign to spread awareness about this.
Spend time with someone affected by cerebral palsy
Do not spend time with them out of pity, because they will sense it. Spend time with them to learn how they live and discover their daily struggles.
Since green is the color of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, wear green as a symbol of your involvement in the cause. Encourage others to go green as well!
5 Important Facts About Cerebral Palsy
It is not a disease or sickness
This condition is not a disease or sickness — it is not contagious and cannot be reversed, although some symptoms can be lessened with physiotherapy, speech therapy, or occupational therapy.
Everyone with cerebral palsy is unique
No two people with cerebral palsy are the same and they are equally deserving of love and care as those who do not suffer from this condition.
There is a special awareness day
In addition to having an entire month dedicated to Cerebral Palsy, March 25 is an annual day to remember the plight of those living with cerebral palsy.
17 million are affected around the world
17 million people are living with cerebral palsy, which is equal to the entire population of the Netherlands.
Opportunities are needed
People with cerebral palsy do not need sympathy — they need opportunities to live their lives as independently as possible.
Why National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is Important
Awareness needs to be spread
The more people know about cerebral palsy, the more we can create a safe and friendly culture for those living with the condition. We can help them strive for excellence in spite of the extreme challenges they face.
Our education systems need to be transformed
Due to their circumstances, children with cerebral palsy require special care and advanced learning systems. We need to place greater focus on special-needs schools to ensure that cerebral palsied children can reach their full potential.
Knowledge and compassion create a better world
Adults and children living with cerebral palsy have the same rights to life and dignity as anyone else. Our attitudes need to change, and this will only come with greater understanding.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month dates