While I was in college, I worked for a summer at a camp for challenged children. Their challenges ranged from physical to emotional to psychological. They were utterly amazing people - all of them - and they taught me volumes about how to see people for exactly
who they are, no more and certainly no less. But the person who taught me the most about this was not a camper, but a co-counselor. Mark couldn't walk, he was in a wheelchair. Mark could barely speak, his words were slow and garbled. Mark also couldn't feed himself, we co-counselors took turns helping him eat. Mark had cerebral palsy, just like Melody in Sharon M. Draper's Out of My Mind
- and just like Melody, inside of the physical limitations of his body, was a clear and creative thinking mind. Just like Melody, Mark had an extraordinary spirit just waiting to burst out.
Out of My Mind
Beyond the Book
Melody has cerebral palsy. So does Mark, my camp counselor friend. Both of them are in wheelchairs, and are unable to walk, and need aid to talk and eat. But one of the children at the camp where I worked has cerebral palsy and he can
walk and talk and eat just fine.
So then, what is cerebral palsy exactly?
Cerebral palsy is a general term for a group of motor conditions that develop in-utero or shortly after birth. Cerebral
means brain and palsy
means a disorder of movement or posture. Cerebral palsy refers to damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle tone, and it can cause increased muscle tone, reduced muscle tone or some combination of both. Where the muscle tone problems are localized - legs, arms, face, etc - depends...