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An Essay About Cerebral Palsy - A Guest Post by Renee Uitto

Renee Uitto has been a writer since college. She wrote for both of her college newspapers. She received a B.A. in Journalism.

Currently, she is writing essays about matters that affect her life. She is also publishing articles for two newsletters, Stepping Stones and Let’s Talk from the agency Oakland Community Health Network in Troy, Michigan. She also belongs to several committees at OCHN that pertain to such issues as guardianship, self-determination, state and federal issues that pertain to persons with developmental disabilities and persons with mental illness.

Renee lives in Troy, Michigan and enjoys reading, shopping, and music.
You Can follow her on Twitter here: @ReneeUitto

An Essay About Cerebral Palsy
A Guest Post by Renee Uitto

Hello, my name is Renee Uitto and I have cerebral palsy. That might be a lame introduction, but I like to introduce myself that way so people won’t be surprised. I think of myself as any other 47-year-old woman. I have my own apartment, even though I have caregivers with me most of the day to help me with my personal care and things around the house. Sometimes it is hard to find good caregivers. Some people want to do things their way, and not bother to ask me what I want, which pisses me off. I have a voice. I have my own opinions about stuff. One caregiver left me in bed until two in the afternoon. A lot of people were very pissed off. This young girl who took care of me didn’t realize that I had my own opinion and made my own choices. I felt like she made choices for me, and I am glad she is gone now.

I like to be independent and make my own decisions. I pay my own bills and do my own grocery shopping online. It is quite convenient for me because I get everything delivered here at my apartment and don’t have to go out. I live close to a lot of shopping centers, so when the weather is warm, I can go shopping and get something to eat and read. I cannot stand going out in the winter. It is too cold for me, and my muscles can’t take it. My muscles also tense up, which also sucks. It makes moving around a lot harder, but I deal with it. I take medication for it before I go to bed and sometimes early in the morning if my muscles are tight when I wake up. Sometimes the medicine makes me drowsy, and it takes me awhile to feel fully awake.

My parents had a hard time of letting go and letting me try different things, but I think that is natural of parents who have a child with a disability. I also feel grateful they always kept me at home instead of putting me in a group home or institution. My mother was a great advocate for me at school. She wanted me in regular classes and wanted me to have physical, occupational, and speech therapy. I did my best for the most part. I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Journalism for Oakland University. I lived on campus for three semesters and made some wonderful friends. I am still writing since I obtained my degree. I write for two newsletters pertaining to persons with disabilities. I also participate on some committees where we discuss legal issues, recipient rights, state and federal issues, and advocacy. It makes me feel good to participate on these committees and to make a difference. I also chaired some of these committees.

I try to keep a positive attitude. Yes, life can suck sometimes. I won’t lie about that. I wish things could be different, but I always felt I had a great life. I love writing essays because I wanted to educated people about my life and to let them know that I never want sympathy for who I am. I want to be treated like everyone else. That’s the way I was raised.

When you see a person with a disability, don’t be afraid to approach them. Talk to them. Ask them questions. You will be amazed at what you might learn.

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