A tribunal of the Ontario Human Rights Commission has been hearing a case about vulgar comments and actions targeted at disabled residents of a local Co-operative Housing unit. The victims include a young lad with cerebral palsy, his mother and other residents.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a historically misunderstood condition which is caused by an injury to the developing brain during pregnancy, labour or in early childhood. There is no one "level" of CP; some have mild conditions, others more severe. Every person with CP is unique. The Ontario Federation of Cerebral Palsy publishes a plain-language guide which includes information on different classifications of CP, adaptive equipment and community living.
The first person with CP many people think of is Irish author Christy Brown, whose memoir My Left Foot became an award winning film. Roger Ebert, in his 1990 "4 star review" gives you an idea of Christy's struggle against the "odds", not a little of which was societal prejudice and disdain. A selection of Brown's work is at TPL, most at the Toronto Reference Library.
The library has several titles about the clinical aspects of cerebral palsy. Here are a few fiction and non-fiction titles from our collections which feature someone with CP as just a part of the story.
Suzanne Kamata's Graphic Novel Gadget Girl is about a 14 year old's life-changing trip to Paris
The Princess Panda Tea Party is an Advanced Picture Book about competition and striving for success
People who live with cerebral palsy are active in sports, the arts, and in greater society in general. They lead incredibly fulfilling lives despite ingrained negative societal attitudes. Have a look at this Huffington Post compendium of posts about issues surrounding CP. British Conservative MP Paul Maynard lives with CP.
The "7-a-side Para Football" at this year's Parapan Am Games debuted in Scotland at 1978's Cerebral Palsy-International Sports and Recreation Games and has been part of the Paralympic Movement since 1984. Here is more info about football and the Parapan Am Games.
Other people with CP who are prominent in sport, arts and culture include comedian Josh Blue ; motor car racer Nicolas Hamilton; artist and motivational speaker Dan Keplinger; activist and performer Lawrence Carter-Long; and actress Geri Jewell.
Geri is an accomplished actress and producer. She broke many barriers in the '80s with her recurring role on NBC's The Facts of Life. She's appeared in The Young and the Restless and Deadwood with Ian McShane and Molly Parker. You can pick up a copy of her candid and inspirational memoir at the library.