Does cerebral palsy affect intelligence?
This is one of the most common questions I get
So what do I mean by that?
Well, as mentioned before in this blog. In various posts such as life with mixed diplegic cerebral palsy What is the difference between us Learning who you are! Just to name a few. And quite honestly the answer in my opinion is no!
My reasoning for this?
Just because someone has the condition does not mean they are going to be of low intelligence. A condition of Cerebral palsy is a form of brain injury. Not a person's intelligence.
The largest part of the brain, the cerebrum initiates and coordinates movement and regulates temperature. Other areas of the cerebrum enable speech, judgement, thinking and reasoning, problem-solving, emotions and learning. Other functions are related to vision, hearing, touch and other senses.
Meaning that cognitive parts of the brain are affected by cerebral palsy but it doesn't mean that we are low intelligence because we have to think things in a different way.
Many of us are teachers, university staff and much more. If that was the case there wouldn’t be people who had the condition but were in these jobs.
There is this misconception that because we have a disability it means that we have low intelligence. And that is just not true!
That would be like gagging people of all types by what they can do, not how someone thinks.
To show another example of this would be professor Stephen Hawking. Who, although had Motor Neurone Disease (ALS) was able to teach and research at the prestigious University in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Until his death in 2018. His IQ was 160 which was the same as another theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. He is most famous for his theory of general relativity.
So although Stephen Hawking was physically disabled by Motor Neurone Disease it did not take his ability to think away. This would mean that as the disease took hold then he would have been put in a care home never to be heard of in the first place.
Therefore cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the brain and the body physically. It does not mean we have low intelligence.
As far as I can see from a personal point of view it is the generations before who have thrust their opinions on all disabled, not just those of us who have cerebral palsy. But every type of disability.
What do I mean?
Right up to the 1980s here in the United Kingdom people who have any disability at any level were put into care homes.
It was even evident during the 1990s when I was out with my now-husband we heard an old lady say that in her day people were put away.
We were put away for being different and deemed simple-minded just because our limbs were not able to be used the same way.
And unfortunately, the lingering thoughts of having disabled people put away is still being considered no matter how badly a person is physically affected. Because being disabled is not the norm.
But what is the norm?
Being short-sighted, long-sighted having to wear glasses, wearing hearing aids because we’re hard of hearing. I Have asthma. These are the accepted norms for what I’ve seen people think but walking differently, speaking differently unless you are from a different area of the same country are classed not.
There is also the problem of being of different races and religions that are still being argued about too.
So my final thought on this is what is normal?