The CP Vigilante Zachary Fenell names the injustices cerebral palsy misconceptions cause.

Injustices Caused By Cerebral Palsy Misconceptions

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Fighting injustices sounds admirable. Just view injustice’s definition, “the condition or practice of being unjust or unfair.” Or, at least that remains the meaning Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition gives. Other dictionaries utilize alternative wordings to define the term. Avoid losing yourself to such specifics though!

Instead highlight the commonality among the various definitions. Whatever the source, you spot the word “unjust.” Therefore fighting injustices means you battle the unjust. Again, a seemingly commendable endeavor!

Why preface the description using “seemingly” you ask? Great question! Basically the answer revolves around an increasing danger to how you and I communicate. While methods to express ourselves increase, words become utilized faster. Communicating so fast, true meanings blur. Subsequently terms devolve into mere buzzwords.

I present to a high school sociology class, discussing self-fulfilling prophecies.

Speaking to high school students, one asked the inquisitive question, “What injustices?”

Hopefully today’s post provides some reality. Similar to an experience I encountered during a speaking gig. I explained to high schoolers my mission “fighting the injustices caused by cerebral palsy misconceptions.” One specific student posed the impactful query. “What injustices?”

Yes! Allow her curiosity to illuminate the way. Seek details, examples! Perhaps now you too wish to enquire. “What injustices?” Well, thanks for asking! I am here to offer my reply.

Stick-Up

Albeit not quite as blunt, misconceptions can mimic a robber. Rather than a stick-up collecting wallets and phones, another item becomes forced away. Opportunity!

Unlike a thief however, those stealing opportunities probably possess good intentions. The metaphorical burglar seeks to protect your wellbeing. Motivation noble yet potentially misguided, depending upon the concern’s roots. Perchance the concerns stem from preconceived notions about disabilities, injustices surface.

Until 2014 when I entered the road racing world, the closest I came to a consistent athletic endeavor involved swimming lessons. Nonetheless these ended eventually. The instructor believing cerebral palsy would prevent my ability to master the increasingly complex strokes taught. A chance to demonstrate otherwise proved scarce.

Following the final swim class the instructor spoke privately to my mother. She planned to fail me due to the aforementioned. Fair enough if you ask me. Conversely I see the injustice amidst the decision to completely end my swimming lessons.

Throughout the years I realized personality development correlates alongside reaction to adversity. Essentially your response to difficult situations constructs your character. Stolen experiences thus segue to our second injustice.

Code Violation

Expanding the construction analogy, the abovementioned thefts cause code violations. You find yourself minus the sufficient building blocks to properly build. Consequently you either construct a faulty base or face a delay.

Consider circumstances. You only know your retort to difficulty once challenged. Do you let negativity intimidate you, leaving you backing down? Alternatively maybe you rise to the occasion, persevering and strategizing forward.

Ponder my previously cited swimming lessons example. Retrospectively I uncovered a solution more just. Permit me to repeat the same level. Giving enough consistent efforts, perchance I conquer the challenging strokes. Else I grow frustrated to the extent I myself decide to stop.

Since said scenario never played out, I endured delays constructing the person I became. Years past before confronting a comparable encounter. 2015 saw me defeat my first 5k, although the race almost defeated me.

Finishing dead last along to “inspirational” clamors led to an emotional conflict. Temptation to feel embarrassed lingered. Easily I could buckle to embarrassment’s enticement and abandon competition. Meanwhile the opposite happened. I strengthened my personal foundation, learning to adjust my mindset. A powerful adjustment to boot!

Disturbance

Likewise adjustments also eliminate an additional injustice misconceptions create.  Sometime within your life you possibly heard the phrase, “disturbing the peace.” Disability fallacies trigger their own disturbances. Threatening and obstructing inclusion!

This point resembles the earlier mentioned thieving injustice. Well-intending motives likely fuel the disruptions. Where the injustices separate extends to decisions’ aftermath.

Beyond robbing the individual with a disability, thieves further rob others. Secluding someone disabled actively prevents an inclusive environment. Farewell to the chances to understand disability courtesy the individuals experiencing the conditions. Resulting the non-disabled continue trusting false disability myths.

An interaction I experienced prior to a 5k comes to my mind. Arriving to the location I surveyed the surroundings, trying to spot the registration tables. Unsuccessful I turned to a nearby runner and asked “Where do we pick up our BIB numbers?” Observing my movements he responded “You’re doing the one-miler right?”

Smiling at the finish line after completing a 5k.

You remain able to challenge yourself despite a physical disability.

Given my cerebral palsy he assumed I registered to complete the shorter distance. Untimed the one-miler participants needed no BIBs. “No. I am completely the 5k” I corrected him. I like to think the exchange enlightened him, establishing a realization. You remain able to challenge yourself despite a physical disability.

Those Injustices!

There! I am finished presenting to you the injustices cerebral palsy misconceptions induce. The thefts seeing opportunities forced away. Valuable possessions if you consider their formable influence. Without opportunity, you either face a delay in developing your personality or construct upon a faulty foundation.

Moreover the thefts rob others, disturbing inclusion. An inclusive atmosphere will struggle while disability misconceptions stay unchecked. So help me callout the misconceptions and correct the injustices. Comment below outing injustices you dealt with due to misconceptions.

Until next time, remember. Do not blend in. Blend out!

-Zachary

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