5 Individuals Changing The Way We Think About Cerebral Palsy

3 min read

cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy, also known as CP, is a condition that affects movement in various parts of the body. CP can cause issues with posture, speech, muscle tone and coordination.

While there are a number of ways that an individual could be physically or mentally hindered by their CP, there are many examples of encouraging people who refused to let their disability hold them back from achieving their dreams.

Here are 5 models, comedians and artists with CP that inspire us:

1. Emily Prior

emily prior

Emily Prior is an 8-year-old from Perth, Australia. One day she asked her mom a simple question about the catalogs she owned: “Why aren’t there children like me in these?”

Emily has CP and was discouraged that advertisements seemed to only feature children who did not have a disability.

Emily decided to conduct her own photo shoot with fashion photographer Stefan Gosatti, and the pictures quickly made headlines. Since her modeling debut, Emily has been involved with four major advertising campaigns. This seems to be just the start of an exciting modeling career for Emily and she serves as an inspiration for any other children who feel they lack representation in mainstream media.


2. Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon Zayid

Maysoon is a Palestinian-American actress, comedian and social activist. She is mostly recognized as America’s first female Muslim comedian, as well as being the first person ever to perform stand-up comedy in Palestine and Jordan.

Maysoon has cerebral palsy, but she doesn’t let that hold her back from pursuing her dreams. In her infamous Ted Talk, titled “I got 99 problems… palsy is just one," she sheds light on the way she was able to learn to embrace her diagnosis and incorporate it as a positive aspect of her career.


3. Ryan O’Connell

ryan o'connell

Ryan O’Connell was described by Advocate.com as an “unapologetic gay disabled millennial.” These varying aspects of his identity have been gradually unveiled over the scope of his career.

Ryan is a blogger turned TV writer and is currently working on creating a sitcom about growing up gay and disabled with The Big Bang Theory actor Jim Parsons.

Ryan began as a writer on the popular publishing platform Thought Catalog. His viral post titled “Coming Out of the Disabled Closet” revealed that not only was he gay, but he also had CP. Being honest about his identity opened up countless doors for Ryan and his message is truly an inspiration for anyone struggling with accepting themselves for who they really are.


4. Holly Greenhow

holly greenhow

Holly is a 9-year-old from England and was diagnosed with athetoid CP during her early childhood. She has been selected to model for two major UK fashion campaigns so far for companies Boden and Tesco.

Despite her CP, Holly attends a mainstream school and participates in swimming, horseback riding and wheelchair sports. Her CP prevents Holly from being able to speak or walk, but with the help of an eye-tracking speaking device, Holly has been able to break down boundaries and embrace life to the fullest.


5. Joshua Lindley

joshua lindley

Joshua was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 4. Doctors warned his parents that there would be no way he would be able to speak or function as a “normal” child. Despite the odds he was given, Joshua still loved to be the center of attention. He has built an impressive resume as a child model and has been featured in a number of catalogues, trade magazines and advertisements. 

Joshua communicates using a speech assistive device and his parents say this device has contributed to his confidence and overall happiness. He even had the opportunity to meet England’s Princess Anne recently and programmed his machine to say, “It’s an honor to meet you!”

These individuals showcase that being diagnosed with cerebral palsy does not have to limit one’s potential to dream big and achieve amazing things.


Photo credit: express.co.uk, youtube.com, newnownext.com, telegraph.co.uk, thesun.co.uk

Cerebral Palsy Guide was founded upon the goal of educating families about cerebral palsy, raising awareness, and providing support for children, parents, and caregivers affected by the condition. Our easy-to-use website offers simple, straightforward information that provides families with medical and legal solutions. We are devoted to helping parents and children access the tools they need to live a life full of happiness