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Celebrating Strengths: Raising Awareness of Cerebral Palsy

01 March 2024

March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month.

You may find that you are seeing more Green Ribbons being worn and spread on social media. This is a visual way for people to express their support and raise awareness for Cerebral Palsy.

Organisations such as the National Bobath centre (who inspire people with this condition to achieve goals and live fulfilling lives), set up challenges and build resources to create more awareness around Cerebral Palsy and allow others to learn what they can do to help those individuals who have it.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is one of the most common childhood disabilities and represents a wide scope of muscle and motor function difficulties to mental delay and brain trauma.

There are 4 main types:

  • Spastic cerebral palsy: this is the most common type of Cerebral Palsy. People with this type most likely experiencing stiffness and tightening throughout the body with the level differing from person to person. 
  • Dyskinetic cerebral palsy: this form of Cerebral Palsy describes how the bodies muscles move from tense to floppy without warning. This results in involuntary movements.
  • Ataxic cerebral palsy: this is the least common type. Usually identified with poor balance and shaky movements, with many people having issues with their fine motor skills and co-ordination and some having partial or full body tremors.
  • Mixed cerebral palsy: this is the last type and describes how some people with Cerebral Palsy have a mixture of more than one of the main group types. The mixture can differ in levels and is unique to each person.

The majority of young people at Chailey Heritage Foundation (CHF) have Cerebral Palsy, and we celebrate their achievements and progress every day.

The impact on each person’s daily life can depend on the severity of the condition. Many of people with CP struggle with their muscles and movement and are unable to walk. All the children and young people at Chailey Heritage use wheelchairs or powered mobility aids to get around.

Some of the young people also have difficulty eating or swallowing and many may need adapted or alternate forms of food and nutrients such as pureed meals or syringes.

Cerebral Palsy can also affect behaviour and mood, which is mainly due to pain. Other common problems are dislocations when trying to move, trouble managing pain levels, depression and other mental health conditions and increased fatigue.

In November 2018, Bertie who is one of the cheeky young people in St Martins department started at Chailey Heritage Foundation. Bertie does not let his Cerebral Palsy stop him! He loves to use his head switch to choose and play songs on the computer and has recently developed a love for maps and exploring animals who live in the different areas of the globe. Bertie's variation affects his whole-body muscle tone, but despite his challenges, and only being six years old, he has adapted his own way of getting around and communicating, and is regularly described as a positive presence to be around.

Ellie is a vibrant, chatty young lady in Hanbury department (CHF's older cohort), loves to get around and show everyone who is boss! Ellie has been here since she was 2 years old. Since starting here, she has made amazing progress and is always smiling. Ellie is known for taking every challenge in stride and not letting any obstacles she faces get her down or get in her way!

From being a pupil here at CHF, Lucy is now a part of our Futures bungalows and accesses the Leisure & Skills Centre (LSC). Here she is able to swim, cook, socialise, and spend time doing her favourite activities. Lucy also books regular slots in our art studio. Lucy loves art as it’s an outlet for her to express herself.

There are many other wonderful young people at Chailey Heritage Foundation who harbour unique strengths and talents and defy odds every day. Cerebral Palsy is just a part of who these young people are. It is important to continue to capture and showcase the skills, stories and special moments that the young people have and share them with the wider community to end stigmas associated with Cerebral Palsy.

Let’s Raise Awareness together!

To get involved you can share stories of our young people, volunteer at Chailey Heritage Foundation, and of course share your own stories of how you or other people you know have continued to be amazing despite the challenges.

You can find out more about Chailey Heritage Foundation, what we do to support the young people or read those amazing stories including ones about Bertie, Ellie & Lucy T on our website: www.chf.org.uk


Other Links:

CHF Volunteering – www/chf.org.uk/volunteering


ellie paintinglucy bubbleBertie WHWCP month
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