A Child's School Day With Cerebral Palsy
Children and Cerebral Palsy
Children With Cerebral Palsy At School
My name is Eric. I can’t walk like the other kids. I have to use a walker and a wheelchair. I only use the wheelchair when I really get tired, but I have to use my walker the other times. I have Cerebral Palsy. I got CP sometime before I was born or as I was being born. I have had it all my life. I have to have physical therapy all the time to help me walk better. I also had to have surgery on my hips to help me walk better.
Cerebral Palsy - The Ride To School
I ride a special bus to get to school. It is a smaller bus that has special hooks to hold my wheelchair in place. There are six or seven other kids that ride the bus with me. I am the only one that has a wheelchair, though. The other kids have different kinds of problems. One can't hear. Another one has autism. Another one can't ride the big bus because the noise is too much for her and she just cries. We have a great bus driver and a bus aide on the bus. I like trying to make them laugh on the way to school.
Teaching Children With Cerebral Palsy
Teaching children with cerebral palsy is the same as teaching any other child. Just like there are children with all different learning abilities, there are children with all different physical abilities. Some children with CP use walkers or wheelchairs, while others can get around with very little troubles. Sometimes the CP affects learning, and other times it doesn't. Basically, the strategies you use with any other child will work for children with CP.
Cerebral Palsy - Starting the School Day
When the bus gets to school, I have a helper that comes to get me. She reminds me to wheel my chair faster so that we can avoid the crowds. She also carries my walker. When we get into the school building, we have to stop at the special bathroom first. I switch from my chair to the walker and take off my coat and backpack. Then I go to the bathroom. I don’t like it because my helper has to come in with me…and she is a girl. But she has to be there because I might fall. I don’t wanna fall, so I guess it’s okay.
After I am done in the bathroom, my helper takes my wheelchair to my classroom and I walk down there by myself. When I get to my room, I sit down and try to get to work. It’s kind of hard, because I work so slowly. It’s always hard for me to get all my stuff out and get ready for everything. I am supposed to do it all myself, but sometimes my helper does it for me because I am taking too long. My hands work pretty good, but because my legs and trunk don’t it just makes things harder.
Cerebral Palsy - Recess
After working for most of the morning, we go out to recess. My helper goes out, too. I really don’t like our playground. It looks really fun, but there is not much I can do out there. There is a big play equipment thing that has rope ladders, slides and secret places to hide. But there is no ramp for my walker or wheelchair. There are not even any swings I can use safely. I usually just play in the sandbox. I can get in there without much help and some of my friends come and play with me. Sometimes they don’t want to play in the sand and they play tag and stuff. I just watch when they do that.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Many people believe that cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the muscles. In reality, it affects parts of the brain that control body movements. This can mean that a child has a lack of muscle control and causes the child to have spasms. It can also mean that muscles become so tight that they can't move. Or it can be a combination. CP usually occurs before, during, or right after birth. Sometimes, it isn't noticed until two or three years of age. It can also be the result of a brain injury. Some children with CP require life-long care, while others need no care at all.
Cerebral Palsy - Lunchtime
When recess is over, we go in for lunch. I have a special seat to sit in. It is at the end of one of the lunch tables. I get to pick a friend to sit by me, which is cool. No one else gets to do that. My helper also goes to lunch at this time, so my friend helps me do the stuff I need to do. Sometimes they help me open packages and stuff. We get to talk for a little while and then we have to get quiet and eat. I like lunchtime because it’s fun for me. I like to talk!
Cerebral Palsy - Art and PE
After lunch we go to art. I like art, too. I am good at art, especially when we get to work with the clay. I made a clay bird last year, and this year we are making a dragon! My dragon is going to be purple and have cool wings that look like he’s flying! The art teacher likes the way I work. She calls me a “great artist!”
The worst part of the day is PE. It’s even worse than recess. There is not a lot that I can do in PE. The other day, they were playing beach ball volleyball. I got to use my chair, but it’s too hard to go after the ball. I sometimes feel like I’m going to fall out of my chair. One day they played scooter tag. I could kind of do that, but I couldn’t use my legs to move like the other kids. I am just glad when PE is over.
Cerebral Palsy Organizations
Listed below are some organizations that you may contact regarding cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Palsy - Math
When PE is over it’s time for math. Math is my very best subject. I can come up with the answers pretty fast. And they are almost always right. We are starting to do multiplication. I like that a lot. When we do math, we work in groups. I am the helper in the group. I get to help the other kids when they are having trouble. It’s cool.
Cerebral Palsy - End of the Day
At the end of the day, I have to pack up my stuff a little before everyone else does. My helper wants me to get on the bus before the crowds are in the hall. I have to wheel myself and I am supposed to do it all on my own. I wheel up to the bus and we use the wheelchair lift to get me up on the bus. The bus driver straps my chair in place, and I head home. I am tired after all that!