Written by Jeff Meyer on 20 Jan 2016
The 800,000-plus Americans who are diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy face a largely insurmountable set of challenges from the outset of their lives, with complications only progressively worsening over the course of a patient’s lifetime. In short, cerebral palsy, a condition manifesting itself in, during, or immediately following the birth process, is a serious medical issue in which damage to neonatal brain functioning causes subsequent long-term impairment in the infant’s motor development and bodily movements.
Symptoms in cerebral palsy patients will vary from individual to individual, but in virtually all instances, long-term impairment of a child’s cognitive, motor, social and development skills are often noted, with speech and other linguistic behaviors being slow, or non-existent in development. As there is no known cure for cerebral palsy, those patients facing CP frequently seek out treatment in one facet by way of attending speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
While most cerebral palsy patients face ample complications of their own, the nature of their disability also complicates their ability to socialize with others in a normal manner, or in short, hinders their social development as such as any other skill set. As some have noted, there can still be much social awkwardness as men and women with CP interact with the world around them.
The Just Say Hi Campaign by the Cerebral Palsy Foundation Encourages Mutual Understanding
For the reasons of public misunderstanding of cerebral palsy, and for cerebral palsy patients themselves, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation has started the “Just Say Hi” campaign. Featuring many well-known celebrities, the campaign is an effort to encourage non-CP individuals to strike up conversations and friendship with men, women, and children who have cerebral palsy.The latest celebrity to join the “Just Say Hi” campaign is Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook. In a recent spot, Cook is seen asking his iPhone 6s, “Hey Siri, how do you start a conversation with someone who has a disability?” In order to encourage further knowledge and compassion from healthy individuals with regards to cerebral palsy patients.
Other celebrities who have joined the “Just Say Hi” campaign include the following:
- Comedian Zach Anner
- co-anchor of CBS This Morning Gayle King
- Actress Felicity Huffman
- Actor Michael J. Fox
- Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella
- ESPN Broadcaster Jason Benetti
- Actor William H. Macy
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi
- Former federal reserve chairman Paul Volcker
- Actor Oliver Platt
Many of these celebrities either know someone who has cerebral palsy (e.g., Volcker’s son) or has it themselves (Benetti). In addition to taking part in “Just Say Hi,” Apple has long been known to promote products that are accessible to those facing all multitudes of disabilities and impairments possibly preventing use of Apple’s products. For instance, the iPhone 4s allows users to make phone calls, schedule meetings, and other important tasks through voice activation.
Such applications of technology are helpful for those with cerebral palsy, whose motor functions are often lacking. Most adults with cerebral palsy have to cope with muscle stiffness (spasticity), uncontrollable movements, problems with balance, posture, walking, and speech.