Monday, October 22, 2007

Tiny Bouts of Activism

Searching for something else entirely online I found a website which referred to Cerebral Palsy in an entirely inaccurately way. I wrote an e-mail as a response:

"I am commenting on the article located at (removed because of positive reply from the site).

The article at the site says, "I learned that Queenie Archer has cerebral palsy, a degenerative muscular disease, as well as dysarthria, which prevents her from speaking clearly." Cerebral palsy is NOT a degenerative muscular disease.

See the information from United Cerebral Palsy below. The errors in your article, high lighted on your websight are an insult to Queenie and perpetuate a negative, erroneous stereotype about cerebral palsy. You should correct the article and apologize.

"Cerebral palsy, also referred to as CP, is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movement and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development; before, during, or shortly after birth; or during infancy. Thus, these disorders are not caused by problems in the muscles or nerves. Instead, faulty development or damage to motor areas in the brain disrupt the brain's ability to adequately control movement and posture. "Cerebral" refers to the brain and "palsy" to muscle weakness/poor control. Cerebral palsy itself is not progressive (i.e. brain damage does not get worse); however, secondary conditions, such as muscle spasticity, can develop which may get better over time, get worse, or remain the same. Cerebral palsy is not communicable. It is not a disease and should not be referred to as such.Although cerebral palsy is not "curable" in the accepted sense,training and therapy can help improve function."

Kate Ahern, M.S.Ed.

I received the following reply:

"Kate, Thank you for your comments. I also thank you for bringing this article to my attention. Unfortunately, I started working here less than a year ago and was not made aware of the inaccuracies included in this article that was printed in 2005 until your email this weekend. I will forward your comments to the department director for further follow-up. Thank you for your time and dedication to ensuring that stereotypes are not tolerated. I myself do not condone such behavior and will do my best to ensure that it doesn’t happen in the future under my watch."

Here, here.

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