Keren Rak-Mehler, 15, nonverbal quadriplegic cerebral palsy
How would you explain nonverbal quadriplegic cerebral palsy to a Child?
Cerebral palsy affects people's bodies in various ways. It is caused by some kind of brain injury, which then causes them to have difficulty in controlling their movements. Cerebral palsy causes small difficulties for some people and many significant difficulties for others. For example, I can't get around without a wheelchair, I can't talk without my eyegaze controlled communication device and it also causes me to be sensitive to loud noises. I also can't control my arms, so they need to be tied down so I don't hurt myself or hit things.
What does it feel like to live with nonverbal quadriplegic cerebral palsy?
Having cerebral palsy means that somebody can't move and talk like others. It doesn't mean they are less smart and it doesn't mean they can't communicate in a meaningful way. It bothers me that people comment about how smart I am, since I feel they are treating people with disabilities as being stupid and they are surprised that isn't the case.
What do you want the world to know about nonverbal quadriplegic cerebral palsy?
Living with CP makes everything a little difficult because of my lack of ability to do things on my own. I get through each day and night with the assistance of my aides.
What brings you joy?
I really like to draw, I do this by holding a marker in my mouth. I also love listening to Lin Manuel Miranda's music!