Tuesday, November 20, 2012

May I Ask You a Personal Question?: Talking About CP (Part 3)

I had the accommodation letters safely stowed in my backpack for weeks, waiting there for when I finally mustered up the courage to give them to my professors. I didn't want any accommodations. . . as much as I can, I try to accommodate to the world; I don't want the world to have to accommodate to me. But when I explained this to the disability coordinator, I felt a lecture coming on about how I need to look out for myself more, so I just shut up and signed the letters.


I fish for the letter in my backpack and walk shakily up to the teacher's desk.
"I'm sorry that it has taken me so long to get this to you," I mumble as I hand it to him.

I don't know why I'm feeling so embarrassed about these letters...I thought I had gotten past this whole "ashamed of having a disability" thing...I guess I just don't want my new professors to see me as the "handicapped girl," because sometimes it's hard for people to look past that label once it's been established.

He smiles at me, barely looks down at the letter as he shuffles it to the bottom of his pile of papers.

"That's okay, I don't think you needed to get this to me! I mean, it's obvious that you're doing just fine in class! You don't need accommodations," he says, smiling again, referencing the perfect scores that I had received on all of the tests thus far.

"Yeah well...," I force a smile. Deep breath, this is it. Why am I so nervous? "They aren't academic accommodations."

Understanding sweeps over his features. "Oh, yeah. What happened to your leg?"

Why do so many people assume that it's "my leg?" It's BOTH of my legs - does it look like only one of my legs is affected? Weird.

"I was born three months early," I say, hoping that will suffice.

He doesn't miss a beat. "Oh, so you got knocked around and stuff?" he says with a laugh, gesturing with his hands.

Well, that's one way of putting it. Way to be blunt. I want this conversation to be over!

"Well, it's actually neurologically-based...but I'm not cognitively affected."

"Obviously not," he responds, and the conversation, thank the Lord, shifts to math.

Well, at least CP keeps my life interesting!


  1. Great to hear of your academic excellence. Thinking back to before Cooper
    I had not much idea that CP was neurological I am not sure what I thought it was. i think people assume brain damage means intellectual damage and dont realise brain damage can affect muslce control/messages. Xx

  2. Thanks for your insight, I never realized that! To me it's just second nature that brain damage doesn't necessarily go hand in hand with intellectual damage because I've known that basically all my life, so I really appreciate that perspective!

    Thanks for the comment, and I love your blog posts, as always! :)

  3. If you don't mind me asking, what specific accommodations do you receive in college? I was just wondering because I have CP as well, and am getting ready to go off to college next year. Oh, and I have spastic diplegia as well, and somehow I always get the "What happened to your leg?" question, too. Weird, isn't it?

  4. Sure! :) My campus is pretty small (I can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes) so I didn't need that many accommodations. I register early so that they can make sure that all of my classes are on the first floor of the buildings unless there's an elevator (although I usually take the stairs even if there is an elevator...I'm stubborn like that! ;)). Also, I can call for a ride to my classes if I need it (like when it's rainy, icy, or snowy out) and I'm allowed to be late to my classes. I'm pretty sure that's it, although I might have forgotten something.

    If you have any more questions about college, feel free to ask! I was so nervous about it but it's going so well so far! :)

    Hahaha, small world! ;) Too funny that you get the same question! Thanks for commenting!

  5. It is so angering that college professors can get away with remarks like that. I want to be like, "YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL!" I have strong feelings about people being rude...I bet you couldn't tell... ;)


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