My name is Amie Kroessig from Atlanta, Georgia, and I was born with cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that affects motor and developmental skills. It’s estimated that 1 million people in the United States have cerebral palsy.
Thankfully, I have a mild case, but it hasn’t come without its struggles. My parents taught me that despite my disability, I was still capable of achieving whatever I set my mind to.
One of these dreams was to work in theatre — an industry that often feels inaccessible to many people — but with the help of resources and support, this dream came true for me.
A Dream Made Possible
In 2004, I started helping my mom with costumes for live theatre shows and fell in love with this environment. Since then, I always wanted to work on Broadway shows, but I never thought it would be possible.
At the beginning of 2017 — after 13 years of finding such joy in theatre — that dream became a reality. I started working with a company dedicated to providing assistive hearing and vision devices as well as foreign translation devices. These devices make live Broadway shows more inclusive so anyone can experience the joy of a live performance.
I felt like I was not only achieving my dream but also helping others achieve their own. I may have mild disadvantages with my speech and movement, but I was able to overcome this by asking for support when I needed it.
“[Amie] never let her cerebral palsy stop her. She picked up how to do the job faster than many other new hires. It was no issue for us, after she had knee surgery, to place her at a theater with as few stairs as possible. Bottom line, she made a great addition to our team.”
– Amie’s Theatre Manager
Never be afraid to ask for help or accommodations, especially if those support options will help you achieve even more of your dreams.
The Importance of Diversity
While I was working on SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, I recall a moment that really showed the importance of diversity in workplaces.
A patron came up to me for assistance and began using sign language to communicate. I jumped into action and quickly remembered enough of my sign language to explain to her how to use the device.
A smile beamed across her face when she realized I could sign — when she realized we could communicate in a way that she felt seen. That smile was so special and one I will never forget. Seeing her also enjoy the show was priceless.
To the patrons that I was able to help, I was just another person, not a disabled person. To me, that means a lot.
Helping Families at Cerebral Palsy Guide
Many resources we have today were not available when I was first diagnosed. Had they been, my parents would have had an easier time handling my disability. Due to these struggles, I became very passionate about helping other individuals with cerebral palsy.
I’m very honored to now work as an outreach coordinator and advocate for Cerebral Palsy Guide. The organization works diligently to reach as many families as we can to improve the quality of life of every child with cerebral palsy.
Every child deserves the chance at a happy life. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call us at (855) 220-1101 today. We can connect you with our on-staff nurses or legal help so you can get the financial assistance you need.