Why are awareness days so important? What makes them so special? Why do we put the spotlight on a particular group of people?
I'll tell you why...
The only way to successfully eliminate ignorance, discrimination and inequality is through education. Awareness days are opportunities to discuss, teach and learn about others who may look, speak, walk or learn differently from us. As a society, we have been conditioned to take notice of other people's differences. For individuals like my daughter, having these differences cause her to stand out; sometimes generating whispers, stares or abrupt, spontaneous questions (often asked nervously).
Awareness days like World Cerebral Palsy Day and National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day allow us to start the conversation. It's an opportunity to speak about what cerebral palsy (CP) is and how many people who have it are living fulfilling lives and participating in society. It gives us the opportunity to speak about various types of equipment you may see someone with CP using, like a wheelchair, and understand that this device assists with the individual's quality of life. They can inspire us to invent or develop better devices and services to assist and improve the lives of individuals with CP. These days encourage others to look beyond the limitations or challenges and see the person.