Cerebral Palsy is a term for a group of disorders affecting body movement, balance, and posture. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage in one or more parts of the brain that control muscle tone and motor activity (movement).
You might be wondering what the definition of cerebral palsy got to do with the topic, just read on and you will understand. Recently, at a programme held at the Centre, I met a parent who asked if I was a student. Am I a student or a worker? Am sure most of you do not know, some people can only identify me as someone who writes blogs for CDC. Now let me introduce myself.
My name is Busola Akinsola and I work with the CDC as an administrator. Oh ok that sounds pretty cool right but wait for this, I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a very young age, now that is where I am going. My parents felt bad but they were determined to give me the very best -they did not give up. My mum said she took me to different hospitals but they kept saying there was no hope. She was however determined to see me succeed.
Growing up was a bit difficult for me in the sense that a lot of people didn’t accept me. People would move away when they saw me and this made me feel a bit downcast, but my mum kept encouraging me. Contrary to the way people viewed me, my family were proud of me. They took me along whenever they went out (I noticed this even as a young child) and did not hide me at home. This really helped to boost my confidence. Though I started school late, the good thing was I had teachers that encouraged me. According to my mum, when I was in nursery school, the headmistress of my school always picked me up in the morning and even though I was slow in learning, my teachers were patient with me. My parents also employed a teacher to teach me at home after school and this really helped me.
It was not a smooth journey but with the help of God, my family’s love the encouragement of my tutors’ and my determination, I was able to scale through. I had a bit of problem in my first year in the university because it took a lot of students time to accept me and this made me feel so sad that I wanted to leave school. My mum had to come down to school to talk to me and I decided to face my problems and not run away. Not too long after that, a lot of students started associating with me.
After my mandatory national youth service, it was an uphill task getting a job because a lot of companies thought I was not capable of doing the job but after about two years of JOB HUNTING, I got a job with an agro allied firm as a research officer. I gave my best and everyone in the company liked me. I was also an associate editor for the company’s newsletter and consequently, I had to do a lot of research, which I enjoyed. I was on this job for a short while because after four months, I proceeded to the UK for my master’s programme.
When I got to the UK, it was a different ball game entirely. The master’s programme involved intensive study and I really had to study hard. In the UK, people with disabilities were more appreciated and I am not saying there is no discrimination against people with disabilities but all I am saying is that the rate of discrimination is lower. Even though my course was very tough, I was able to pass my exams and graduate.
Even though I work as an administrator with CDC, I am able to relate with the children so well especially those that have cerebral palsy and I can share in their pains. To GOD be the glory that girl that people thought would not amount to anything, is now a masters degree holder. So if you have a child with cerebral palsy or any other disabilities please do not hide them at home. Rather take them out and encourage them. Though some of these children might not be able get to the university level or learn a skill but you need to give them the very best and show them love so they can feel wanted and this will them make happy. As Dr Akindayomi will always say “Provision of Educational, support and other related services to people with disabilities should not be seen as an act of kindness but as a matter of their fundamental rights as human beings”.
Busola Akinsola (living with Cerebral palsy)