Molly is an 8yo girl that lives in Union County, North Carolina. Join Molly and her friends, as they teach us about their differences and similarities. Each month will have a different disability focus.
Molly likes to eat lunch with her friend Brandy. They sit together in the cafeteria. One day, a new girl passed by their table. She was using a shiny pink walker. Brandy waved at the new girl. “Who is that?” asked Molly. “That is my cousin, Gwen,” said Brandy. Brandy told Molly that Gwen had just moved to Indian Trail. She also said Gwen had cerebral palsy (seh-REE-brel PAWL-zee). Molly did not know anyone else with cerebral palsy. She asked Gwen what those words meant. This is what Gwen said:
- The word “cerebral” means something to do with the brain. The word “palsy” means you have trouble moving. When a person has cerebral palsy, they have a hard time moving some of their muscles. The part of the brain that tells the muscles what to do does not work right.
- All people with cerebral palsy are different. Some kids have trouble walking. Some kids have trouble talking. Some kids have trouble moving their arms. Some kids have trouble eating. It all depends on what part of their brain is affected. Some kids have more trouble than others.
- Gwen has trouble talking. Sometimes it is hard to understand what she is saying. Sometimes it takes a long time for her to say something. That does not mean Gwen does not understand you. Gwen understands everything you say. You just have to be patient and listen carefully when she talks.
- Gwen has cerebral palsy because she was born early. She was a very little baby. She had to have help breathing. That was not good for her brain. Not everybody who has cerebral palsy was born early. Sometimes the doctor does not know why the person has it.
- Cerebral palsy does not spread. If a person with cerebral palsy only has trouble walking, that is how it will stay. They will not start to have trouble with something else later, like eating or talking. Also, you can not catch it from someone, like a cold.
A few minutes later, Gwen came over with her lunch and sat down. Molly was glad Brandy had told her about cerebral palsy. Now Molly knew why Gwen used a walker. She also was not surprised when Gwen had trouble talking. Molly knew to just wait and listen carefully. And by listening carefully, she found out Gwen was very funny. Molly hoped Gwen would sit with them at lunch every day.