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This part of The Ramp Ahead is my way of letting others show that it is not the minority of those with CP who have overcome everything put in their path. Obviously, I'm not responsible for what appears below so if you have any gripes about what you read, get in touch with the person concerned! Seriously though, please write to these people who have taken the trouble to write about themselves and share your experiences. And let me know of any bonds!
If you read through some of these stories and then have an overwhelming urge to tell the world about you and your life with, or in conjunction with, Cerebral Palsy, then please add your own bio!
Here's the story of Bill Bowman
am 32 years old, with mild spastic Cerebral Palsy. My mother had Rubella 7 months before I was born in 1964. I was main streamed in 1970, at a time when no children with special needs were part of the regular school system. Three years ago, I put a classified ad in the local newspaper in San Jose, California, USA. I only received one response, but that was all I needed. My ad read, "SWM with mild Cerebral Palsy". Seven months ago, that woman became my wife. Carolyn also has mild Cerebral Palsy. We live in Gilroy, California. She teaches preschool special ed (she has 5 autistic preschoolers) and early childhood development at the local community college. I have a master's in library science, and do technical support for a software company in Monterey that has a program which automates school libraries.
I have two e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Before I go, has anyone read anything by Christopher Nolan? He's an Irish author, about my age, with severe Cerebral Palsy but has published two books so far. I haven't heard anything more about him for at least five or six years. If you have any information, or would just like to write, I would like to hear from you.
Here's the story of Jennifer Wilson who lives in Sweeny, TX, USA
my name is Jennifer Wilson,
I have a mild case of left spastic hemiplegia. I am 16 years old and I am a sophomore in a regular school, but have special modifications mainly because of the fact that I have a vision problem too. Other than that, my life is great, and I enjoy making friends close to my own age with similar disabilities.
You can e-mail Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the story of Jessica Morrison, as told by her mother, Kelly
is not deaf, she can hear and understand everything that she is told. Her speech is the only reason why she was put in special education. She is still in the process of learning sign language - she has been in speech therapy since she was 2 although she was not actually labeled as having CP until she was 6. At the age of 2, a neurologist had a CAT scan done on Jessica to see if there was any brain damage - the CAT scan didn't show any damage. She was diagnosed as having delayed development. At the age of 6 our pediatrician decided to have a MRI done on her because her speech still had not improved. Looking at my daughter, you cannot tell that anything is physically wrong, until she tries to talk. The neurologist who worked with us this time diagnosed Jessica with CP, when the results of the MRI came back we were sent to a neuro-surgeon. We were advised that she also had an Arnold Chiari Malformation (that is where the cerebellum part of the brain is elongated and is putting pressure on the brain stem, which controls everything in the body). Jessica had surgery 2 weeks after the MRI. They cut the base of her skull off, cut open the lining of her brain and put in a dura patch to allow the cerebellum room to grow without putting the pressure on the brain stem. Even on the MRI they did not find any brain damage. Because she had been labeled with delayed development, the speech therapist didn't want to do sign language with Jessica because they thought that, with therapy, her speech would improve. Because she isn't deaf, I cannot put her in a deaf school, and I can not put her in a hearing impaired classroom. There are no other children that I know of that have the same problems with their speech. Jessica is definitely a unique case in our county. When she was in kinder garden, the school physiologist told me that if there was a class for severely disabled speech, that Jessica would definitely be in it, but because we wouldn't be able to get the funding for it, that it would never happen.
My husband and I have been trying for the last 3 years to get Jessica out of the special education classes and into a regular classroom with a assistant that knows sign language. Jessica has very mild cp, she has a slight problem with her right hand and her speech is affected. And of course the school system is treating her like she has no mind because she can't talk. She is supposed to be in the fourth grade, she is in a third grade level, but she is actually at a beginning 2nd grade level with her math and reading. Needless to say, we are not to pleased with this, and are trying to get all our information together so that we can fight the school over this. I need to talk to the advocacy center, and I suppose I will need to obtain a lawyer. They don't want to supply a tutor for her to help catch her up to her level, but at this point I feel it is their responsibility since they have dropped the ball with her education. We have already had the meeting with Jessica's school advising them that she will be going to a different school, and that we will be putting her in a regular classroom. In her IEP meeting 2 years ago, I had to actually tell them that I wanted them to work with teaching her to read. I shouldn't have had to ask them for this. The teacher that she has this year is a Saint - we finally have a teacher that is teaching and pushing Jessica to learn, and it is a shame that we didn't have her 5 years ago, if we had, we wouldn't be in this situation today.
I don't know anybody who has already been in this situation, and it is trial and error on our part, God knows they will not willingly provide any information that will help us. But we are to the point that we will fight them with everything that we can. We want our daughter to have an independent life and a choice in her future. I am just so frustrated with this, I know what I want for my daughter, but I don't know how to get it, and I don't want to do something that is going to overwhelm or hurt her. I know in my heart that there is more to Jessica than what she is getting at school, and I want her to have her chance in life to be happy. I know that it will be hard on her and a long road, but I would rather her be strong and accomplish it, than to sit back and slide through life dependant on everyone else for her survival.
When I first received a message from Kelly, I was really shocked to learn of the fight she is having in giving her daughter the education she deserves. We all know that everyone comes up against problems in fighting for their rights, but the problems this family are having go beyond what any person should have to do for what should be given to them on a plate. As you have read, Kelly feels very much alone in her fight so if theirs anyone out their who has has a similar experience or who can offer Kelly help, please mail her at email@example.com.
Here's the story of a good friend, Jeannie Boen
My name is Jeannie Boen. I live in Spokane, Washington with two very spoiled Shetland Sheepdogs. I actually have a lot in common with Bill Bowman, whose story appeared earlier in the page. I am also 32 years old and was born with mild to moderate cerebral palsy. I now know (thanks to this page) the specific type is "spastic". I was also the first physically handicapped child to attend my public grade school in 1970. Through the years I have developed some very strong views against special education for physically challenged children.
I think I owe my success and determination to the fact that I was not insulated in a special school or a special environment, but allowed to mature in the "real" world where I would eventually have to live. Those stairways and P.E. classes (God, I hated them) seemed insurmountable at the time, but have strengthened me for what I would face in the future. I am also a strong believer in the physically handicapped educating the public as to what we CAN do. In a very real sense, all disabled individuals are ambassadors.
I have always figured that whatever things I can't do, there are still thousands of things I can. I am a devout Christian and am believing God to help me maximize whatever this body can do. Presently, I am working on "mime". I would like to eventually be able to dance a little - even if I'm not very good, and all but my close friends laugh at me.
I like to meet people. Buzz me if you like at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's the story of Kelly Czarnecki
am a fourteen year old female. I have a mild case of spastic right hemiplegia/hemiparesis. I am main streamed into a regular education class, with non-disabled students, and I have been all my life. It is hard sometimes, and people sometimes see my disability, and not ME, but most of my classmates, have accepted me just fine.
HOW I GOT CP - I am not really sure as to the exact cause of my CP, but my parents have told me that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck at birth, causing lack of oxygen. My mom has also told me, that her placenta broke open, and she began to bleed shortly before I was born.
PENPALS - I am looking for other teens and adults with CP, with whom I can correspond on a regular basis, and who I can share my struggles and/or successes.
INTRESTS & HOBBIES - I like to read, surf the Internet, meet new people, play the clarinet, shop, and hang out with my friends. I also enjoy creating & maintaining my Homepage on Cerebral palsy.
Please e-mail me at email@example.com
Here's a short appeal from Dona De Wees for CP penpals
am looking for Pen Pals with CP. Are you interested? If so I would like to correspond with you and would be be happy to put your name on an pen pal e-mail list for CPers. I also have a Website, http://www.proaxis.com/~donad/. Check it out and let me know what you think!
Hope to hear from you soon.
Now for the bio of Barbie!
Hi my name is Barbara Sue, I am 47 years old and was born with CP. I was not
however diagnosed until I was 2 years old. My parents noticed I couldn't sit
or walk properly and started taking me all around Michigan to doctors trying
to find out what the problem was. At first the doctors thought I was
mentally retarded. Then after two years of searching for answers the doctor
finally diagnosed me with cp.
I started my oddysey of wearing braces then. At first day and night. Then
at age 9 the doctors at the special ed school I went to decided no more
braces - they weren't doing the job. (walked pigeon toed legs bowed.) So I
went for two years with out braces. At age l2 surgery was suggested. At
first they couldn't decide whether to do heel cord lengthen or something
called eggers procedure. The last was performed in 61. The doctors took a
muscle and moved it tied it behind my knee to straighten out my legs. This part
worked but the end result was nerve damage to left leg and foot. Now I have a drop
foot on my left side. Then cast's were put on too tight - they had to split them
after they were put on - this caused circulation damage.
Ever since I have walked with the aid of crutches. I now get around pretty good. I
have balance problems but can drive and do most things on my own.
As far as academics are involved. I started public school but all the kids
tried to do everything for me and I didn't like that so my parents put me in
a special ed. school. I loved it there but had to stay during the week because the bus
wouldn't go to my parents house to pick me up. I stayed for five years in a
dorm with two other girls that were deaf. I was like a mother there. For
the most part I loved it there. About the only time I got homesick was right
after getting out of hospital from surgery and when they put me in for
three weeks to evaluate me for walking. I got really homesick then because I
went straight from hospital to my school dorm.
My education, in my opinion, at Rackham was very minimal and I had a very hard time
academical and socially when I returned back to normal public education.
Rackham tried to ease me back into public ed. by taking us to public school
two hours every day for first year. However I nearly failed all my classes
in public school and hated it so I was put in basic classes till I finally
graduated. By then I was l9 yr old - was held back a year when transferred to
public school. Like all teenagers I wanted to drive. At first we had a hard
time finding a place that would teach disabled people how to drive. But then we found
Ann Arbor school sys. and took drivers ed. My father decided to use drivers
ed as a leverage to get me to go to college. No college = no drivers ed. it
worked but there again troubles began in college. but I finally graduated
from Washtenaw Community college.
I was born in Ypsilanti Mi raised in Belleville mi. I have four sisters of
whom I am the oldest. I think my sisters have always been a little jealous of
attention I have had but they're now over it, I think - now that we have all grown up. My
parents are from Kentucky I love it down there and would love to make it my
I had a lot of problems making friends but am a outgoing type of person who loves
to talk and meet people. My father was very strict on us - I only had one date
in high school. Never really dated till in mid 20's.
I met my husband through a computer dating service. we talked for hours on the phone
then after a week he came to meet me. He asked me to marry him at our first
meeting but we waited 6 wks. What can I say? Hormones I guess! We wanted to
live together a while and see how it would work out but my parents gave me an ulta
matim; them or him - well I chose him. We got married July l2, l980.
We don't have any children - I can't have any. I think this has been the hardest
thing I've ever had to cope with. I love children and wanted a house full
of them. My husband was married twice before me and has two grown daughters.
The oldest one has three children (7, 4, ll) who I call them my grandchildren.
We have tried every thing we could to have children but to no avail. You
have no idea how many times I've cried over this disappointment.
Barbara S. Clark (Barbie0647@aol.com)
Here's Norma from the U.S!
I was born with spastic C.P. 47 yrs ago. At that time I had to attend a
school for the physically handicapped. Then through my high school years, I
had to have teachers come to my house. About ten yrs. ago, I moved to a
smaller town and I started going to college. I'm going to graduate next yr.
my major is in education. I'm also working with children that have attention
problems I'm hoping to get a job at this school. I was just inducted to a
sorority named Phi Theta Kappa. If anyone would like to write to feel free to
do so. I'm in a powered wheelchair which is great!
Don't give up,
Norma Arnaud (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Here's Dave CURTIS-BIRD from Nr Bath, SW England.
I was born on Sunday, 13 June 1971 (which makes me 25 at the moment!). My
childhood wasn't all that much fun, I was bullied when I was at school and
my home life wasn't much better.
When I was 10, I moved down to be with my Grandparents. The reason for
this is quite complicated...
Basically, my dad owed the bank a lot of money, and he knew that if he
didn't get the money, he would be kicked out. So he reasoned that if he
looked a massive hero, they wouldn't dare do it.
So he arranged to have someone place a biscuit tin filled with petrol, an
electric alarm clock, an electric lighter and a lot of wiring into the
bank. He then went to the cashier and said something like "Quick get
everyone out of here, there's a BOMB!!!!" I'm not exactly sure, cos I
wasn't there. I'm only going by the newspaper reports. The bank proved
that he had done it, (due to the money he owed) and he got sent away for 18
Anyhow, as I said, I went to live with my Grandparents.
To start off with, things weren't too nice. I was bullied at the local
secondary school, and my education was still going downhill. But then my
grandparents got an offer from a local charity, and managed to send me to
Prior Park College (it's an RC school, and I am (officially) C of E) but
they took me anyway.
It was such a good school, that within 2 1/2 terms of being there, I took
and passed my English 'O' level. I was still only 14 at the time!
Life became a lot nicer!!!
When I was 15 3/4 (12 March 1987 to be precise) I was crossing a road when
a post van hit me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I spent 5 months in hospital, 6 weeks of
which was in a coma! Whilst I was in hospital, a local newspaper covered
my story, and said that I liked Queen. Someone sent the cutting off to the
Queen fan club. Sometime later, I received an autographed LP, autographed
photo, and a video of live in Budapest!!!!! I have been a strong fan ever
When I returned to school (the following September) I took and passed
Biology 'o' Level in November (which amazed everyone but me!).
I eventually left school in '89, and have since spent my life going from
Unemployment to college and back to unemployment... I am now doing a home
study course in Cobol (which I UTTERLY HATE!!!!). I am now completing a
new course in Delphi (which is so much better, easier and more intuitive,
Just this past month, I have finally got a job. I am working as a computer
operator/trainer. Basically, I have to input a data base onto a computer,
and then train the staff in how to use it! So far, so good (so what?)…
What I look like:
I am a 6'2" (1m80) tall, with black hair and green eyes. I currently weigh
about 16 stone, which equates to 224 pounds but I am losing weight (at
last!). Personality wise, I am friendly, open, honest, imaginative, daring
and just about everything else!!! My bad points are that I have a quick
temper, I tend to get hurt very easily, and I am rather cynical (I know, a
major contradiction. I mean I am rather cynical about religion etc...)
Well, that is all about me. Write if you want and please tell me all
Take care and beware of the post-vans!!!!!!!!
Here's Daniel Ingram from Willard, Ohio US.
Hi my name is Daniel Ingram, I Was born Sept.4,1974. I have
Mild Cerebral Palsy and Spastic Diplegia. My hobbies are: Going to church,
Teaching Children at church, and playing on my computer. I used to feel
worthless about myself but God has brought me through that. I am a Christian
who loves God. I know that Jesus died for me.
So, think you could make your bio any better, eh? :-) This section has already had a big response to its previous incarnation so to use your chance to tell the world about you life with CP, click here!