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I Communicate Differently, But Please Communicate

Like many people with cerebral palsy I use a wheelchair for mobility. My condition also affects my ability to speak and so I use an electronic communication device. Most people have seen one of these or are familiar at least a bit with Steven Hawking. If you meet me or another person who uses an alternative communication system take a couple minutes and get to know them. Even though I can't talk I am just as smart as any 20 year old and I want to have a conversation with you. Thanks, Hollie.
HollieRgirl HollieRgirl 18-21, F 23 Responses Apr 25, 2012

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Hi Hollie
My name is Leeane. I am in a wheelchair too and cannot speak. I use a communication device but dont find it very effective( my carer is writing this for me at the moment). I was wondering what sort of device you use? Im really smart too but a lot of people dont get this so i understand your frustration.
Bye for now
Leeanne xo

I'm nineteen and I have cp. I also use an alternative communication system.

Hi Hollie,

I have Cerebral Palsy too and just out of curiosity I found myself on this site and then read your story. I have many friends who have difficulty communicating (although I don't myself) I just wanted to say "Hello" - I love getting to know new people, so if you want to, do get in touch.

Take care,

Hi, Allie... I have a friend in KS like you, severely affected by CP... she's a good woman.

my nephew a quad,diveing acc.15 yrs now,says people hollers at him,he says to them i'm crippled not deaf.most are not rude but you are no fiff.than us,if i speak,would you be receptive to me?maybe you don't feel like talking some dsy's just like me!set the pace and comment to me and i will talk back.glad too see hooygirl has many to chat with,count me in.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?LOOK AT STEPHEN HAWKINGS.I WOULD LIKE TO BE YOUR FRIEND.MY NEPHEW IS 50 CAN'T WALK OR TALK BUT DOES KNOW WHAT IS UP.AND ARE WE NOT ALL DIS-ABLED ONE WAY OR ANOTHER SUCH AS BEING EMOTIONLY CRIPPLED?ON EP HAD TO RE-SIGN UP WOULD NOT TAKE MY E-MAIL HAD TO GO TO AN OLD ONE SO CONTACT ME DIRECTLY "BAYDOG2012@GMAIL.COM O.K?

I believe what you wrote about how your disability effects your speech and that you need an electronic device to communicate. I just happen to never met such a person with CP. However one of my closest friends in high school was born with the condition. I worked with kids with cerabal palsy at an institution for special needs children. From working there I know there are different severeties, and types. Found out the term for difficulty in speaking is dystharthia. If I ever met you or anyone in a similar situation if the individual wanted me to, I would talk to them. I include you too. You impress me as a very smart, likeable 20 year old. Best wishes.

Hello Hollie

I would never in a million years look down on anyone with any handycap.I have a younger brother with CP.I would consider it an honor if you added me to your circle !

Hiii, thanks for ur post, and not to worry, ppl are all different, and believe me many are not bothered of how you are, but they will judge you from your behavior, i don kbw you but you seemed to be one happy fellow and social. Keep up the good spirit and enjoy life, be happy.

Hello Hollie,

I certainly would be glad to get to know you in person if we were in proximity to one another. Keep writing.



I have never "automatically" considered that someone using a wheelchair is somehow less mentally capable than anyone else but I have encountered one person who very angry at his situation of needing a wheelchair and this definately made it impossible to get to know him. This individual was a college professor I had in a chemistry class and because of his attitude I could not feel comfortable asking for extra help I needed. I think there were others in the class who also had this sense and for us it was because of the man's attitude; not because he used a wheelchair, that he seemed to be "unapproachable". I cite this just as an example of how people are different; certainly there are "unapproachable" people who don't use a wheelchair.



For a good story example of being accepting of a person's difference, have you seen the episode from the first season of "The Waltons" (The 1970's TV series currently available on DVD) about the Walton familys' learning to communicate with a deaf girl (named Holly) and how Holly's father came to accept her difference that he originally thought was a "curse". This is an excellent episode with an excellent ending. My son has the DVD with him (not here) so at this time I can't tell you the name of that episode.



Best wishes to you.

Dear Holly,

You are very brave, I hope your comment is read by many people.

My husband cannot cope with anyone who has a handicap, even a small one. I do not know why. Many years ago I taught children and teenagers with severe handicaps . They were some happiest years of my life. As well as making a wide range of friends too.

Now I have ugly scars and wounds, and even after 35 years of marriage my husband has problems with this. He who has never broken anything in his 65 years of life! Except for a nail that is :)

He simply just does not know what to do. Or even where to make a start! Yet a more wonderful person I have yet to find.

Perhaps he cannot cope with anyone with a handicap because he simply has never, in any way, been handicapped himself. He has no idea of what it is like not to be able to convey a feeling, or physically negotiate a pavement with a wheelchair.

I just think some people are scared, simply because they are faced with a situation they just do not know how to cope with. They immediately look for a helper, and for me it was summed up by the BBC program "Does he take sugar?" Well that phrase sums it up, I think.

I am furious when I see this response, yet I am sure this is just an initial reaction from a minority. I certainly should hope so.

Take care, you have made me think of so many wonderful people out there that I have yet to meet.

Hi, thanks for bridging the gap, I often feel like people in wheelchairs dont really need to be bugged etc.... but I did stop and talk to one young guy and he was fun! I would love to talk to you. :)

One piece of advice I heard long ago and still follow is that when talking to a person in a wheelchair, get to eye level - kneel or sit so that you can look them in the eye, don't look down at them (literally). Would you agree with this, Hollie?

but many may think you are treating them a child so you need to talk that one over with with cp many times the minds work great there bodys do not and i think many walk away form a great friend ship by not getting to know the person
would love to find a person to go places with and do things with that has cp

dear Hollie,

Nice to meet you.Communication is important not the medium.Have a great wonderful day.

Excellent Hollie and well said Harley. The net and somewhere like EP makes a great level playing field, no prejudices. We are all human beings with valuable things to contribute, we all deserve to be listened to. Its a pleasure to talk to you. :)

dont worru the best communication is to chant and communicate with the Lord hare krishna hare krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. just chant ofcourse people like me are there but communicate only with the Lord He is the best bet not human beings who has time to communicate with one another, it is all material goto ISKCON SITE DESIRE TREE IN GOOGLE U will get your answer GODBLESS

WE DONT HAVE TO BE IN WHEELCHAIRS , PEOPLE CAN TREAT US IF, WE HAVENT NO VALUE, ITS NOT THAT YOUR IN A WHEELCHAIR THEY ARE AFRAID TO BE REJECT . I WORK WITH PEOPLE IN WHEELCHAIRS LOVE TO HEAR THEIR STORIES . SMILE A LOTS , LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT YOUR WELCOME THEY FRIENDSHIP.. PEACE BE WITH U..

Hello Hollie



Your post struck a few chords with me, especially your comment "If you meet me or another person who uses an alternative communication system take a couple minutes and get to know them.".



Can I just say not only people with a communication device, but anybody who is sufficiently disabled (through any cause) to be in a wheelchair. My Father sustained serious injuries in WWII, exacerbated by an industrial accident which meant he spent much of his last 10 years in a wheelchair. It used to exasperate him when people would talk to my Mother and simply ignore him whilst they were out and about ; very often my Mother would be asked "how is Arthur today?" - and he would explode - usually informing the person that he was crippled but his eyes, ears and brain were still as good as ever !



I've witnessed this with others where people treat those in wheelchairs as children, babies almost. Zerich also is quite right about the way in which people seem to feel the afflicted person is deaf as well ! I've one friend at present confined to a wheelchair due to a degeneration of the spine. She's a really feisty lady (as, it seems to me, are you). her favourite saying is "just because I'm an invalid doesn't make me invalid !!"



We aren't ever likely to meet, but it's a pleasure to be able to communicate with you in this manner

had taken dis-abled to store and would go get elec.cart had to wait as 500#ers were hauling their butts around instead of walking,finally get one and the gears sriped,but on way to car,i obseved peop's looking at me with sympathy and no eye contact,i felt shame and apolagetic for some odd reason and realized what diabled feels like.by the way,i am large and work out etc and would never take an elec.cart nor handy cap parking space...

Good Morning Hollie

I really am glad to get to meet you. Well through the computer anyway. This thing has opened up a whole new world to us, and I feel blessed that it led me to meeting you. There used to be a man in my church with Cerebral Palsy, and he was always glad to talk with anyone. One thing that always struck me as funny, or shall I say odd, is the tendacy to talk louder to someone in a wheelchair or with other conditions, as if they were also hard of hearing. Have you noticed that? We tend to do the same thing if someone doesn't understand our language.

Many people don't speak, or stop and talk, not because they are rude, etc., but because they just really don't have any idea what to say.

HEY !! Have you ever heard of an evangelist named "David RING"? Look him up on the internet. Absolutely a fantastic speaker. He also has cerebral palsy. I think you would really enjoy him.

Blessings to you, and I hope to see you again sometime."Well, see your typing anyway !!"Grin"

Zerich

hey hollie, even though i got lucky and only my fine motorskill and some walking issues persist its good you have adapted so well and seem to take your difficulty in stride, good for you girl! remember alot of society is shallow but we arent all like that, ignore the people that give you a rough time and cherish those that dont

if the person cars about you they will understand how hard it is to use the devices and the limataion of them

my friends used eye scan and a knee switch to prgress thought the screen and the one kid that lived with me used a deltatalker for a while till he got sick and he seemed to blame the machine [who knows the mind but we did give the machine a a speech person and help helped prove amny other could use the machine so they got one too with out the rentail cost



we all have a right to be love and someone to understand us

I kind of always feel like I will be bothering or making a particular person with an electronic cimmunucation devise uncomfortable if I talk to them. Will definitely take your advice. I love meeting new ppl.

have know a few that use that type of device by PRC