In honor of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month this March, Cerebral Palsy Guide wants to share big and small ways people can show their support and become an ally for people with disabilities.
This initiative was started by a cerebral palsy advocacy group in 2006. Supporters, activists, and advocates celebrate by wearing the color green, using the #GoGreen4CP hashtag, and donating to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
Learn how you can get involved in supporting the cerebral palsy community this month.
What Is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month?
During the month of March, individuals living with cerebral palsy, as well as family members and activists, come together to advocate for the cerebral palsy community.
Cerebral palsy is a permanent disability that impacts a person’s mobility and muscle strength. Unfortunately, some cases of cerebral palsy are caused by preventable birth injuries that stem from medical negligence before, during, or after delivery.
Over 1 million people in the U.S. are living with cerebral palsy, and approximately 10,000 babies are diagnosed every year.
The goal of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is to push for positive change in education programs, the health care system, and the job market to provide more opportunities to those living with this disability.
As National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month grows, more people are coming forward to share their stories. Several organizations are working to make sure people with cerebral palsy and other disabilities get a national voice.
The Ongoing Journey of Spreading Cerebral Palsy Awareness
Since activists first started the official awareness movement in 2006, schools, businesses, and communities have begun taking part to better understand and support people with cerebral palsy. Great achievements have been made for cerebral palsy inclusion thanks to these efforts.
Schools have begun implementing new programming to help students discuss and understand disabilities. The Cerebral Palsy Foundation’s “Just Say Hi” curriculum, which aims to help students engage with fellow peers who might be different from them, is just one of the many programs schools are implementing. By opening up these conversations, young students are beginning to see we are much more connected than we realize.
Businesses are showing their support by hiring people with cerebral palsy and providing accommodations to their employees. By hiring more people from different backgrounds, including individuals with disabilities, businesses can benefit from new perspectives and a more diverse workforce.
Even U.S. lawmakers are finding ways to increase awareness and advocate for those with cerebral palsy. Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced the Cerebral Palsy Research Authorization Act of 2023 this month to secure $5 million in cerebral palsy research funding for the Centers for Disease Control.
“The lack of dedicated federal funding has limited any potential advances into the care and treatment of cerebral palsy,” said Congressman Cohen. “There is no standard of care for treating CP, and very few health care providers specialize in treating adults with CP.”
Despite the incredible work already being done, there is still more progress to be made so people with cerebral palsy can truly be included, heard, and supported. Two important ways to do this are breaking down stereotypes and the way we talk about disabilities.
The words and language we use have a great deal of power in shaping how people feel. Cerebral palsy and other disabilities do not define an individual. It is important to ask questions and listen carefully to the needs and feelings of those in the cerebral palsy community.
How to Show Your Support During Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
There are many different ways you can spread cerebral palsy awareness. One of the most popular ways to show your support for National Cerebral Palsy Month is to wear the color green.
Here are some other things you can do to show your support for the cerebral palsy community this month:
- Advocate for more research funding by writing letters to government officials using the GoGreen4CP template
- Donate to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation to support the community
- Encourage people to learn more about cerebral palsy on National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day on March 25
- Help advocate for more accessibility accommodations in public spaces so people with cerebral palsy have more freedom
- Share photos and stories about cerebral palsy online using the hashtag #GoGreen4CP
If you are interested in supporting the cerebral palsy community year-round, consider joining a cerebral palsy support group. There are plenty of community support organizations around the country that need volunteers.
More people across the nation are celebrating National Cerebral Palsy Month each year and breaking down barriers to help open up more areas of society to those with disabilities.
Whether you or someone you love is affected by cerebral palsy, the whole team at Cerebral Palsy Guide celebrates you this month.