March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
Updated: 2 days ago
Did you know? March is Cerebral Palsy (CP) Awareness Month!
Cerebral palsy is the most common childhood disability with over 17 million individuals with cerebral palsy worldwide and 1 in 345 children in the US having a diagnosis of CP (Cerebral Palsy Foundation, n.d.).
National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month was created by Reaching for the Stars, an advocacy group run by parents who wanted to bring attention to CP and the children who live with it (Ellis, 2023).
The official color for CP awareness is green!
Want to learn more about Cerebral Palsy? Check out the Cerebral Palsy Guidance website - this is a physician reviewed website with topics ranging from awareness to inclusion, education, and more!
According to the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, 1 in 5 individuals with CP are unable to verbally communicate efficiently and effectively (Cerebral Palsy Foundation, n.d.).
Empirical studies have suggested up to 80% of individuals with CP may have impaired speech production (Mei et al., 2014) while up to 55% may have decreased functional communication skills (Kristoffersson et al., 2020).
In these instances, the individual with CP could benefit from AAC as a mode of communication!
There are some myths surrounding AAC and CP.
Myth 1: Some speech may be enough.
This is not true! If an individual with CP has some level of verbal communication they use, that is great! But that may not be enough to meet their communication needs across all environments and with all communication partners.
What should we ask? Does their current mode of communication allow them to speak a wide range of communicative functions, to many different communication partners, across environments? Does their current mode of communication allow them to communicate about their safety, health, and well-being?
If an individual has any unmet communication needs, AAC can bridge that gap!
Myth 2: AAC is only for those without fine and/or gross motor deficits.
This is not true! If an individual with CP has fine and/or gross motor deficits that impacts their ability to directly select buttons on their device with their finger, there are several alternative access methods available for these users to ensure they can access their device effectively and efficiently.