I was born with both cerebral palsy and epilepsy. When I was one, the doctors said that I would never walk. When I was three, a psychologist said that I would be mentally disabled. When I was six, my teachers said that I would never learn to write. Well, guess what? They are all wrong! I am currently working on my Master’s degree in Special Education, I work as a curriculum developer and blog writer at an online school, and I walk just fine – in fact, I am one belt away from earning a black belt in karate. What I have learned from this is that one should never make assumptions about what someone can and cannot do.
I came across this photo of an amazing scientific phenomenon called Baikal Zen that occurs when the ice below the stone melts during the day and then freezes again at night, providing a small support for the rock to stay afloat above the lake. Just like the ice beneath that stone, my network of family, friends, and community members have provided me the support that I need to succeed and rise above my challenges, being able to do things that people never thought were possible. The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC has been one of the many supports that have helped me work towards my dreams and goals.
One of the things I have been involved in at the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC is a great program called “Belonging Matters”. As part of this program, a focus group has been created that brings together people with cerebral palsy and other members of the community to discuss our experiences and hopes. I have found this focus group to be very positive and eye-opening. This group has helped me accept my cerebral palsy and it has given me hope in dealing with this disability. I think that this experience has made me feel more comfortable about talking about cerebral palsy than I did in the past. I love that part of the purpose of this focus group is to educate people about disabilities such as cerebral palsy. We have planned to create several mini-projects, such as blogs and vlogs to expose others to information about the disability community. I am even going to attempt to write a children’s picture book and create a puppet show about cerebral palsy that can be used to educate others about cerebral palsy in a fun way. These are just a few examples of ideas that we have and I am so excited about the projects that I am going to be a part of. Thanks to the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC for inviting me to be part of this great program! They are an important part of my own personal Baikal Zen, and I appreciate all their support.
Melissa Lyon, BEd., MEd. (in progress)