March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. Many supporters raise awareness about the condition during this month by wearing the color green, using the #GoGreen4CP hashtag, and calling for societal changes to support the community.
What Is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month?
The cerebral palsy community is recognized during this month-long celebration that serves to spread awareness about the condition. This is a time where those living with the condition can come forward to share their stories and support one another.
Over 1 million people are living with cerebral palsy in the United States.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month also serves as a platform to educate individuals who are not living with the condition, and encourage them to become allies for the cerebral palsy community.
The primary goal for National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is to push for more inclusion in society for those who live with the condition, including more opportunity and awareness in education, employment, and healthcare. Another goal of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month is to advocate for more research to find a cure.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day is observed every year on March 25. It began in 2006 by Reaching for the Stars (RFTS), a non-profit educational advocacy group run by parent volunteers. Cynthia Frasina, RFTS co-founder and VP of Partnerships at the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF), created this awareness day to encourage further research to cure cerebral palsy.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day was created when parents found there was not a national awareness day for the condition like there was for autism, Down syndrome, and many other disorders. Although cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in children, RFTS found that there was little to no research on the condition.
Frasina and RFTS parents reached out to Sen. Johnny Isakson (GA) to begin the process to officially establish March 25 as National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Isakson has been the lead senator supporting the cerebral palsy research initiative since 2006, as well as Sen. Robert Casey (PA) and Sen. Maggie Hassan (NH).
Spreading Cerebral Palsy Awareness
As time goes on, more people are becoming more aware of diversity and supporting those in the cerebral palsy community — even when it is not Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.
One of the best ways to spread cerebral palsy awareness is to embrace diversity. Talking about diversity and including individuals with disabilities can help others learn more about supporting the cerebral palsy community.
Schools are becoming more inclusive by providing special support for those with disabilities so they can thrive in an educational environment. Businesses are showing their support to the disabled community by hiring individuals with conditions such as cerebral palsy to give everyone an opportunity.
Another important way you can spread cerebral palsy awareness is by changing the way you speak about the disabled community. It is incredibly important that we as a society break down barriers to become more inclusive to support individuals with disabilities.
Allies can learn how to rephrase problematic and stereotypical phrases that are harmful to disabled individuals. It is important to never assume a disabled person is incompetent or unable to do what others without disabilities can do.
It is important to remember that a cerebral palsy diagnosis does not define who an individual is.
How to Show Your Support
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. This color is associated with growth, vibrancy, and renewal of life.
Here are a few ideas to show your support for the cerebral palsy community:
- Donate to organizations such as the Cerebral Palsy Foundation to support the community
- Join a cerebral palsy advocacy group to share your story and support others
- Share photos and stories about cerebral palsy online
- Support businesses that are allies to the disabled community
- Use #GoGreen4CP to raise awareness on social media
If you are interested in supporting the cerebral palsy community year-round, consider joining a cerebral palsy support group. There are plenty of support groups online or in-person around the country where you can share your story and support others.
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month continues to foster growth in the cerebral palsy community, and will continue to grow for years to come.