“All of you together can change my life in a minute.”
This is the message people with cerebral palsy want to give out to the rest of the world. Their request — be a little more patient, we have all your answers!
The Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (IICP), in association with 91.9 Friends FM, observed World Cerebral Palsy Day on October 2 with radio jockeys sharing facts and busting myths about cerebral palsy.
A special song composed for the occasion, All of you together can change my life in a minute, was also aired. The lyrics was penned by IICP special educator Saswati Acharya Mohanti in Bengali and translated into English by IICP deputy-director Subhra Chatterjee. RJs Ryan and Radhica lent their voices for the song.
“A lot of people think cerebral palsy is a disease when it’s just a condition that can improve with early intervention. My friends and colleagues at IICP are as intelligent as the rest of you. You only have to give them a patient hearing. They might be slow but they are definitely not incompetent,” said RJ Den, who presided over a meeting to raise awareness. He, along with Jeeja Ghosh, the head of advocacy and disability studies at IICP, talked about the difficulties that people with cerebral palsy face.
“Educating society is the only way to make people more sensitive,” said RJ Den. “To bring about the change, what is required is a positive attitude.” Though the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2011, and Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, have been significant milestones, the road ahead is still a long one.
“When the doctor first told me about my son’s condition, I was completely taken aback. I had no idea what cerebral palsy is. But once I started to learn about the condition, I decided I would not alienate my son. I took him out for social gatherings and to parks,” said Maitriyee Roy Bardhan, mother of Abhiroop Roy Bardhan, a former student of IICP. “Initially, people were apprehensive, but gradually they became sensitive to Abhiroop and helped him stand up when he fell down and laughed, talked and played with him. The change happened because I took the responsibility to educate people around me. That is what all mothers should do. It will help bring about a bigger change and it comes sooner than we think.”
Another problem is employment but Sharmistha Pramanik is among the lucky ones who has a job. “I did some computer courses and that helped me a lot. I take a public bus to reach my office and work on a computer. I do make mistakes but my seniors never humiliate me. They are very warm and explain things to me patiently,” she said.
Her boss, Subhabrata Sarkar, manager, HR, Outsource Biz India Pvt Ltd, said: “We hired three people from IICP and Sharmistha is one of them. Her performance has been excellent. I also wish to point out that she is very punctual and her attendance is 100 per cent.”