Lack of understanding is something that can impact the life of a child with Cerebral Palsy. Whether based upon incorrect beliefs surrounding the cause of CP or what it means about the child, these misconceptions can not only be hurtful, but also limit a child’s ability even more than their special needs. One item that can cause more harm than ignorance is improper actions taken by individuals in power.
First, it’s necessary to understand that there is a legal basis for protecting the interests and desires of a child with Cerebral Palsy. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was put into effect to specifically limit the impact unfair policies and behaviors can have on a child. The Americans with Disabilities Act “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.”
What does this mean exactly? It means that reasonable accommodations must be made to allow all people, regardless of their special needs, to access facilities, events, activities and more. Whether this boils down to a wheelchair ramp, adjusted accommodations in the classroom, a lift on a bus, etc., each of these items is required to help allow access to all people while also remaining aligned with ADA requirements.
This idea of discrimination and equal opportunity in commercial facilities was recently the focus of a child with Cerebral Palsy’s experience at a local ice rink. One child in a wheelchair was prevented from taking the ice because the owner claimed the chair represented a threat/danger to those on the ice.
Founder Ken Stern weighed in on the issue, noting
“It is very important for the family to do what they did. It’s very important for their own child and for the entire community. This is not the kind of discrimination that gets reported on a lot.”
If your child with Cerebral Palsy is prevented from participating in a particular activity or event, it is important to speak up and take your concerns to an individual in charge. By explaining the discrepancy of your expectation versus what is actually being offered, you may be able to quickly influence change and help your child and other children with special needs. However, if you aren’t able to make progress, it’s important to not give in but, instead, take action like the family above.
If you have questions regarding the ADA, help for a child with Cerebral Palsy or how your child may qualify forLifetime Benefits, please call us at (800) 462-5772 or use our online contact form to get more information.