The Canton Rep reports that an eighth grader with cerebral palsy has been successfully running in cross-country meets and even improving her time. The girl, whose name is Kayla Croxton, says in the article that she doesn’t “do the sob story” and that she’s well aware that her cerebral palsy is mild compared to what other people suffer with. Cerebral palsy sufferers oftentimes end up surprising doctors and their parents by going far beyond what was expected of them when they were born.
Like many people with cerebral palsy, Kayla suffers an unsteady gait. This is one of the most common cerebral palsy symptoms in children. It’s also among the cerebral palsy symptoms that are typically present in people with even very mild cases of cerebral palsy. For Kayla, it has meant taking the occasional spill during challenging track meets. Of course, anyone who runs cross-country takes a spill now and then, which only puts her on equal footing with most of her competitors. The picture to the left taken by Bob Rossiter shows the young woman at a race.
While stories about children with cerebral palsy managing to accomplish athletic feats and competing in the way that most children can are certainly inspiring, they are not always representative of what goes on in the lives of most people with cerebral palsy.
Degrees of Severity
In some people with cerebral palsy, the unsteady gait that Kayla suffers is much worse. Many people with cerebral palsy cannot walk without some sort of an assistive device and still others are confined to a wheelchair for their entire lives. In addition to this, some children with cerebral palsy suffer uncontrollable muscle spasms, which sometimes lead to writhing involuntary movements, an inability to move at all and other symptoms. Because of this, the level of disability that some cerebral palsy sufferers deal with prevents them from being able to open doors or perform other simple tasks, much less run a foot race.
While some children with cerebral palsy do manage to improve remarkably with the right physical therapy and surgeries or drug therapies, some cerebral palsy sufferers are severely disabled. In addition to the physical disabilities, cerebral palsy often comes with mental disabilities, problems hearing, problems with vision and problems with speech. These all make it difficult for people with cerebral palsy to participate in life.
While cerebral palsy diagnoses can be devastating, there is always hope. As Kayla shows, some people with cerebral palsy are better athletes than people who don’t have any disability.