Category Archives: Childhood

Speed: The Fallacy of Conformity

Hello Everyone,

I hope your week is ending on a beautiful, purply note! As some of you may have noticed, I have been publishing new posts less frequently the past few months.  This is because I have had a few new opportunities appear unexpectedly. These opportunities have siphoned some of my time from my blog. So, I have decided to take a hiatus from blogging for a while. However, I will leave my past blog posts up until my return. Below is my last post for now. As always, may you all be surrounded by purply blessings!  😊

Love and blessings always,

Allison

 

Growing up, I had years and years and years of speech therapy which was quite effective. When I started speech therapy, few people outside of my family and close friends could understand me and even they had difficulty at times. But, after several years of speech therapy, people can now understand me relatively easily on the first try.

There is just one exception to this: telling a joke. I can always say the setup of the joke just fine, and everyone understands me. However, when I am about to say the punch line, I always start cracking up laughing to the point that I am bright red and can barely speak. At this point, I usually look around to see absolutely befuddled looks on the faces of my audience. I take a deep breath, stop laughing just long enough to get out 2 or 3  words between peals of laughter and then it’s over. I am cracking up again and my family and friends are just laughing, shaking their heads and asking each other, “did you get that?’’ They are laughing, not because the joke was funny(because, after all, they still don’t know the punchline), but because I am laughing so hard that they can’t help but to laugh. Aaahhhhh, the joys of having CP speech and  a sense of humor!

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In the arms of my Michael

Michael Jackson has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was introduced to Michael as a preschooler through the song, “Beat It.” I loved that song so much that I sang it all the time, and I do mean all the time. Now, I was only 4 years  old so when I say “I sang that ‘song’, ” I mean that I  sang 2 words. I’m fairly certain you know the two words … “beat” and “it.” But, I sang those two words with every bit of emotion my 4-year-old body could muster. From  the time I woke up until I went to bed for a few weeks, I sang “Beat It” at the top of my lungs.  My family, though, was very patient and understanding about my enthusiastic, if somewhat limited, musical musings. As my sister said one day, “we always knew where you were. We just followed the words ‘beat it’ until we found you.”

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No wheelchair, no problemo… We have another set of wheels for you!

I received my first wheelchair when I was 10 years old. Before that magical day, I got around using a variety of methods. If I was going a short distance, I walked with a walker and braces, or with crutches, and for a while, I was able to walk unassisted. If I was going a longer distance, my family and I got pretty creative. My absolutely favorite option was having my dad pick me up and sit me on his shoulders. I went from being 4 foot something to being over 6 feet tall in a blink of an eye(my dad is 6 feet tall). I got to play in his hair and ask him questions such as, “Dad, would you ever get a Mohawk?” When my dad wasn’t around, I would either use a rental wheelchair or would sit on a bench. These were the customary options until one particular visit to my mom’s family.

Continue reading No wheelchair, no problemo… We have another set of wheels for you!

Abstract painting of world. The words world cerebral palsy day 7 oct. 2015 are on the right side.

Happy World CP Day!

Surprise… I am posting on a Wednesday! Today is World CP Day! YAY!! I decided to celebrate by coming up with my “10 Reasons I Love Having CP” List.

10. Palsy begins with the same letter as- you know what’s coming- PURPLE!!!

9. Before my speech became pretty easy to understand, I spelled out words when I spoke to people who couldn’t understand me. This led to me becoming such a wiz at spelling that I won several Spelling Bees in elementary school.

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To special school, or not to special school? What a gift it is to have the choice!

As a new school year commences, I am reminded of my years and years and YEARS of education. When I say I am a strong advocate for both special schools, which are schools for disabled children only,  and inclusion(inclusion is enabling students with disabilities to attend regular public schools by providing whatever support systems the child needs to succeed in a regular education classroom), people often gasp and say, “You, a staunch proponent of equality, equal access and a fully inclusive society, support special schools! Well, I never!” Ok, maybe the response isn’t quite so dramatic, but the surprise is palpable. Yes, I support the option of multiple school settings because one size does not fit all children, and one size may not even fit the same child for the entire duration of their academic career. Believe me, I know… I was one of those children.

Many are quite surprised when I tell them that I went to Sunbeam School, a school for disabled children, through second grade. When I ask why they are so surprised, they often say that I am so self-confident and independent that they assumed I attended a “regular” school for my entire educational career. I say yes, I am self-confident and independent now, and I am pretty sure that I was born with that spirit. However, developing those skills as a child depends on having people around you who help you hone those skills. While my parents and other adults helped me to hone those skills outside of school, my teachers at Sunbeam reinforced those lessons throughout the school day.

Continue reading To special school, or not to special school? What a gift it is to have the choice!

Blazing trails at the Olympics or in academia…

When I was little, I absolutely loved anything having to do with speed. Whether riding my bike as fast as possible, having friends run as they pushed me in my wheelchair or blazing down a ski trail, nothing excited me more than going at top speed(in the interest of full disclosure, I STILL love going at top speed)! This is probably why I also loved watching sports where speed was the ultimate goal. I use the term “watch” loosely because watching generally meant that while a sport was on t.v., little Allison would cheer loudly for the person she wanted to win, jump up and down on the couch and stomp her feet in sheer excitement to will her chosen athlete to victory. By the time I was done “watching” these sporting events, I was so out of breath you would have thought I was the one competing!

One of my favorite sports to “watch” was track. And I especially enjoyed watching the track events at the summer Olympics. One summer afternoon, I was watching the Olympics and rooting for the track star, Flo Jo(I loved her nails!). After watching some of my other favorite track stars win their events and receive their Olympic medals, I had an epiphany.

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“ROBERTA, GET YOUR SISTER OUT OF THAT TREE!”

Eight words that I bet my mom never thought she’d say when she and my dad received my diagnosis of CP, but always expect the unexpected when you have two adventurous daughters.

I grew up in a residential neighborhood in the Midwest, where many families had children around my age. During summer vacation, all of the neighborhood kids, myself included, would gather outside and play from sun up ‘til sundown, taking breaks only for lunch and dinner. Even then, we would eat as quickly as possible so as not to miss out on the latest game or a trip to the candy store. One of the favorite past times of the group was climbing the tree in my family’s backyard. Ordinarily, we would ride our bikes and big wheel(I was rocking a lovely pink big wheel- sadly, the store didn’t have a purple one), to the base of the tree where everyone would climb the tree and I would stay on the ground to be the lookout. Technically, we weren’t quite allowed to climb that tree but hey, what is childhood without bending – ok, breaking- a few rules.

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