A blue letter board that reads 'dear OT community please read out words CP community'
Cerebral Palsy

Dear Occupational Therapy Community

Happy Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month 2021!

Now, I know what you’re thinking and yes, this post is a bit late in the month to just be addressing this subject, there is a reason and that’s because I have just finished my daily posts on Twitter for CP awareness month.

This year because I’m knee-deep in my studies I wanted to do simple but effective and most importantly I wanted to reiterate the importance of online communities (I know you’re shocked). So, it came to me daily Tweets from the CP community to the OT community.

At first, I was going to just give these 24 people a shout-out but after my post on Twitter about my idea got a few responses I decided that I’d contact people for them to fill in the Tweet themselves so they could include whatever they wanted. I’m so glad I did because the variety was awesome!

So, grab a cuppa and let’s begin…

Carrie-Ann is Head of Marketing at @AccessAbleUK. She passionately writes about accessible travel and was named one of the most influential disabled people in the UK, on the Shaw Trust #DisabilityPowerList100 in 2019 & 2020.

Carrie-Ann Lightley

Chloe is a Fundraising Assistant for a disability charity called @EnhamTrust and is passionate about ensuring equality for disabled people

Chloe Plummer

Maddy is a platform diver & skier. Her story went viral on social media after speaking at her university graduation in 2019. She says that nothing will stop her from doing the sports she loves.

Maddy Hopson

Heather- a multi-award-winning writer, public speaker, and advisor, named on #DisabilityPower100 & #NPWFutureList strives to educate & empower by addressing disability misconceptions with her authentic and honest work.

Heather Lacey

Not only did Jake tell us about his accomplishments he also told us about how accommodating these are. Music to occupational therapists’ ears!

Being a researcher in sports media production in full time and freelance roles is an incredible opportunity and I’m excited for more. The roles are accommodating for example providing me with physical aids through access to work.

Jake Jones

Thank you all, for showing us that no disability should ever stop you from achieving what you want to.

Recently Adult Cerebral Palsy Hub started the #StampOutTheGap campaign (sign the petition here) about how there are no services for adults with CP. I feel really passionate about this campaign and have spoken about my views on this multiple times, so I was really glad to be able to put some Tweets out that raised the importance of this.

In my day job with @scope I see that the younger generation still have the same struggles that I did! We need parity of care and opportunity, we need to #StampOutTheGap and work together ‘cos we need you guys!

Richard Luke

As an activist, journalist and researcher, CP Awareness Month matters to me as a chance to raise awareness about the difficulties of getting support as an adult with CP. It’s not just a childhood disability! #StampOutTheGap

Sofia Brizio

Thank you both for raising awareness of this vital campaign!

It is Cerebral Awareness Month after and many people told us what this month means to them and how important it is to raise awareness.

CP awareness month focuses on what can be achieved, not on the things that aren’t as easy. I know that if I’d listened to what I was told I’d achieve then I wouldn’t have achieved half the things I’ve done and still plan to do.

Matthew Humphreys

As someone who has mild cerebral palsy, I feel CP awareness month is an important time to raise awareness of the aspects which aren’t so well understood, such as the fact that CP is not always an obvious visible disability.

Natalie Williams

CP awareness month is vital to show that CP affects people in different ways, showing that it is not the same in anyone & that everyone is unique. The thing I love most is it helps people open about how it affects themselves.

Josh Halliday

Over recent years I’ve been actively getting involved with CP awareness month. It has really shown me the strength, diversity, and determination to succeed in our community! We are just like you and are looking to be heard.

Tom Bullock

Adam also wrote a blog post all about what CP Awareness Month means to him and his experiences with Cerebral Palsy and Autism. Read here.

Jack and Olivia also told us what they have done and continue to do to raise awareness of Cerebral Palsy.

I run Positively Cerebral Palsy- a page to raise awareness & create a supportive positive environment around disability and mental health.

Here’s a link to my Instagram post to celebrate CP awareness month 💚

Jack Poulton

If I’d listened to your advice, I’d be more disabled then I am. I walk unaided, use a manual wheelchair & more because I pushed myself. This month is an opportunity for people not to feel alone and a chance for me to be a role model.

Olivia Gallagher

Thank you for raising awareness of the importance of this month!

Others took the opportunity to educate the occupational therapy community, about language and terminology, stereotypes, and other disability misconceptions.

I wish people knew how harmful using the word spastic is. Spasticity is a medical term used to describe people with my type of CP that get tense. Calling someone this is rude and implies I’m unintelligent because of my disability.

Francesca Huges

I wish you knew what people with CP are ACTUALLY capable of.

Check out my blog (https://invinciblewomanonwheels.wordpress.com) about my life as a wheelchair user with CP: Travelling, attending events, and tackling disability issues.

Emma Dobson

I have severe spastic CP with athetoid mix and because of that and I am non- verbal, people often assume I am mentally 3 years old. Not true!!! I hate when someone talks to my carer instead of me when we are in public.

David Williams

People with CP are often even more talented and intelligent than they are given credit for. Just because we achieve things and have a disability doesn’t mean that we are ‘inspirational’.

Sam Harris

Please keep an open mind when working with people who have CP. Everyone’s different. What works for one person might not work for another person. It’s important you take time to understand your client and don’t write us off!

Gavin Drysdale

Well said, everyone!! I think many of us agree that there cannot be enough of these educational Tweets to help us raise awareness so thank you to all those that provided us with this knowledge.

However, whilst some made us question occupational therapy practice others took the opportunity to tell the occupational therapy community about the impact they’ve had in their lives.

Your empathy and understanding has such a big impact on my life. They made me realise my worth and abilities. Never underestimate the impact you can have.

Chloe Tear

I am 19 years old with right sided hemiplegia and I study Journalism in Southampton. Without the support from people like OTs, I could not be following my dream. The job you do is so important to so many.

Ned Kelly

Your compassion and empathy mean I have been able to be as independent as possible.

Faith Martin

I know that the OT community was very thankful to you Chloe, Ned, and Faith for sharing their positive experiences, so thank you all!

Those who know me know I also play the piano so there was no way I wasn’t not going to ask the awesome Lennie Street to play us a tune! Thank you so much Lennie you are so talented.

Lastly, we finished the month off by having a Tweet from a member of the OT community as well as the CP community.

As an Occupational Therapist with 15 years’ experience & 38 years of experience of cerebral parsley, I was born with a Right Hemi.

Having CP has shaped who I am as a person and as an OT. It gives me insight into how occupations can be adapted to achieve a satisfying outcome. Every CP month I learn something new on this disability and the vast spectrum it covers. Over recent years I have read about small pockets of research into how CP can impact on the part of your Brian that manages emotions. I have always struggled to control crying in particular, it’s my go too, this is still an area in need of more research, but the little I have read, gives me comfort.

Rachel Booth

There we have it 24 Tweets in 24 days! Thank you for reading them all! From, The CP Community.

The reactions to these post on Twitter have been amazing and has made me think about what future advocacy needs to be made available within the OT community. I apologise if you don’t have Twitter and if you are reading these for the first time, but I hope this post makes up for it!

Thank you to everyone who took part in this I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this! I’ve no idea how I can top this for next year because your post has been incredible hopefully, I can do something like this again.

Lastly, I would like to thank both the CP and the OT community for letting me be part of both communities what a privilege it is.

Thank you taking your time to read what has been my longest post yet!

Georgia x
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

With thanks to…

Carrie-Ann Lightley, @CarrieALightley

Chloe Plummer, @Chloe_Plummer_

Maddy Hopson, @MaddyHopson1997

Heather Lacey, @nosuperheroblog

Jake Jones, @Ribeyeman98

Richard Luke, @speedincaesar

Sofia Brizio, @SofiaBrizio

Matthew Humphreys, @Humphreys93mj

Natalie Williams, @Natalie_MLW

Josh Halliday, @JoshHalliday94

Tom Bullock, @tombullock96

Adam Beg, @THEADAMNATOR

Jack Poulton, @poulton25

Olivia Gallagher, @olivia_T33

Francesca Huges, @franariella

Emma Dobson, @InvincibleWheel

David Williams, @dwinachair

Sam Harris, @sam_harris96

Gavin Drysdale, @Gav_DrysdaleRR

Chloe Tear, @chloeltear

Faith Martin, @official_faithm

Lennie Street, @TunesLennie

Rachel Booth, @OT_rach

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