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Cerebral palsy patients deserve inclusive India

Written by The Optimist

People around the world with cerebral palsy (CP) are known to live a quality life, but, for the 3/1,000 people that suffer from cerebral palsy in India, daily life is a challenge. Cerebral palsy is often misunderstood and misjudged.

On the eve of Cerebral Palsy Day (October 6) Arman Ali, executive director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP), urged both the government and civil society to work towards greater acceptance of, and accessibility for, children and adults with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a complex, lifelong disability. It primarily affects movement, but people with CP may also have visual, learning, hearing, speech, epilepsy and intellectual impairment. It can be mild (a weakness in one hand) to severe, where people have little control over movements, or speech and may need 24-hour assistance. Global incidence for cerebral palsy is about 15%-20% of physically disabled children — roughly 17 million people.

‘Awareness and services for people with CP a must’

‘People with cerebral palsy have a very difficult life, with a disobedient body. There are hardly any services available in India — barring a few metros and smaller cities. It’s an urban phenomenon as far as services are concerned. There’s hardly any awareness about the services and kind of life they lead which inherently also affects the family. Parents who have children with cerebral palsy devote their entire lives to their care. The fight for survival is heart-rending. It’s imperative that we recognize the need for right to quality life and health of people with cerebral palsy’

— Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP

Finding a better life

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for CP, but there are ways that can help manage symptoms. Accessibility is the key to making the lives of people with cerebral palsy better. India is lagging when it comes to educational and vocational training programmes for people, or children with cerebral palsy.

  1. Education must be inclusive — Use of technology — special aids and appliances, computer-assisted instructions and development of teaching and learning aid
  2. Need to reach rural population with more intensive and workable programmes, keeping in mind the challenges of cerebral palsy in a rural environment
  3. Every child with cerebral palsy should receive opportunities irrespective of socio-economic profile, or geographic location

Move As One

  • The day was first celebrated by the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) and the United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) in 2012
  • The theme for 2019 is ‘Move as One’, encouraging people to benefit from physical activity and sports
  • The world over, those with cerebral palsy are being encouraged to engage in physical activity at 1 pm for 30 minutes and post on social media at #CPMoveAsOne

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