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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : Interview with Sue Hodges, the Cerebral Palsy League

Tegucigalpa, Honduras, April 2010

Ting, a taiwanese girl, is hosting me at her place.

Brisbane, Australia, November 2011

Ting put me in touch with a friend of her, Judy. Her father is working in the "Cerebral Palsy League" of Queensland. I am invited to accomplish a presentation of my journey to the australians members of this organization. I took the time to learn more about this sickness and those who are affected by it.

With Judy and her father in Brisbane

I had the opportunity to meet up and to ask few more questions to Sue Hodges and Brendan Mac Gufficke of the Cerebral Palsy League of Brisbane.

 

What is Cerebral Palsy ?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) affects the way the brain controls the body’s muscles resulting in speech, movement and posture difficulties. Having CP can be like being inside a body you can’t fully control. Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood. It is estimated approximately two people out of every 1000 will have CP. The condition is not hereditary and there is no known cure.

 

What is the cause of it ?

Many causes of cerebral palsy are still not known or understood. However, it is known the developing brain can be injured by:

·         Exposure to certain infections in the early months of pregnancy
·         Reduced oxygen supply to the baby before, during or after birth
·         Exposure of an infant to severe infection shortly after birth or the first few weeks of life
·         An accident or any trauma in the early years of life or even before birth

It is important to note that cerebral palsy has different causes, and affects each person differently, therefore people with cerebral palsy have varying individual needs.


The members of the Cerebral Palsy League organizing a wheelchair choreography


How does it affect the daily life ?

It is important to note that the movement difficulties each person has will be unique. Often a person with cerebral palsy will have a combination of the characteristics described above and postural characteristics may change as the person matures.

Cerebral palsy can be grouped into three main types, which describe the disorders of movement and posture that may be experienced by a person. These are called spasticity, dyskinesia (athetosis/dystonia) and ataxia.

Spasticity occurs when muscles are high in tone (tension) but weak in strength. A person experiencing spasticity may have difficulty moving their limbs and adopting stable posture.

Dyskinesia is often referred to as athetosis or dystonia. Both refer to uncontrolled movements, which are often most noticeable when a person with this type of cerebral palsy commences movement. In addition, children with athetoid cerebral palsy often have very weak muscles or feel floppy when they are carried.

Ataxia is characterised by unsteady, shaky movements or tremor. People with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulty using muscles to achieve balance and coordinated movement. This is the least common type of cerebral palsy.

 

How many people are affected in Australia ?

About 34,000 Australians (7,000 Queenslanders) have CP.


Talking about my journey in the Cerebral Palsy League

What is the Cerebral Palsy League?

The Cerebral Palsy League (CPL) is a non-profit organisation that provides vital support to children and adults with cerebral palsy and physical disabilities. We work alongside our clients to achieve important life milestones like walking, talking, learning, working and living independently.

 

How do you think it improves the daily life of the people affected of Cerebral Palsy ?

We provide services every day, at every stage of our clients’ lives and have been doing so for over 60 years in thousands of homes, schools, communities and workplaces across Queensland.

We work alongside our clients to achieve important life milestones like walking, talking, learning, working and living independently through a broad range of services spanning direct personal care, therapies, technologies, equipment and employment.

The individualised programs we provide equip our clients to fulfil their passions, participate in their communities, and express their creativity.

 

During my visit, a bracelet made by a member has been given to me. I will try to make it travel as long as possible.



What can be done to keep improving the League ?

For every one person the CPL supports, there are five Queenslanders who are unable to reach our services due funding shortfalls. Providing substantial funding will allow CPL to provide:

·         Better means of transportation to accommodate for our growing number of CP clients. This will allow CPL to safely transport clients to and from CPL’s service centres and can be also utilised for day trips.
·         State of the art equipment for CPL clients, this will assist them achieve their life changing milestones.
·         More storage facilities to stow equipment and CP related tools.
·         More service centres in the gold coast region to answer the call to approximately 820 CP individuals needing CPL services.
·         Upgrade of many service centres throughout Queensland.

 
With the members of the Cerebral Palsy League


How can we help the people with Cerebral Palsy ? Is there a special way to behave with them ?

People with Cerebral Palsy are no different to anyone else, they simply have a physical disability. It’s important to remember that people with a disability should be respected as individuals. We agree with the Department of Communities guidelines and respect that - like everyone else - people with CP have emotions, interests, problems, talents, frustrations and faults and have a number of roles such as parent, friend, work colleague and club member. As each person with a disability is an individual, the disability will affect his or her life in different ways and they should not be treated ‘differently’ because of their disability.

 

For more informations about the Cerebral Palsy League, you can find them at:
http://www.cplqld.org.au/default


See you soon,

Jeremy



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