National Cerebral Palsy Day

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“Statue” and you freeze. But for how long – a minute…2 may be 5…and then what – you move.

But those affected by cerebral palsy have some muscle statued…frozen for life.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder that is caused by brain damage – injury or abnormality – causing loss or impairment of motor function (body movements and muscle coordination). Brain abnormality can happen at fetal stage (during pregnancy) or during labour or early stage in life due to some neurological injury or infection. Some patients may suffer stiffness of muscles (spastic cerebral palsy) and some may develop weakness & poor muscle coordination (ataxic cerebral palsy) and some may develop writhing movements & contortions (athetoid cerebral palsy). Whichever be the case, the child affected is either restricted to a bed or wheelchair or is dependent on orthotics throughout the life.

Accessibility is a major concern for CP individuals. Entering a vehicles, reaching a destination which is on a raised location and has steps instead of ramp, using public transport, gardens, malls and markets – all have barriers to accessibility for all those having any form of physical concern.

In connection with the National CP Day (3rd October 2015) and as part of the campaign, the Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy (IACP) organized an event – Connect the K-nots – with a view to create awareness about the disorder through the medium of art.  The main focus of this year’s CP Day was to create public awareness about ‘’Barriers to Accessibility for Cerebral Palsy Individuals’’ and their inclusion in mainstream. The IACP organized Canvas Painting events based on the theme at five places in Mumbai on 3rd & 4th October 2015. On 3rd October, three events concluded at Highstreet Phoenix, Vashi and Thane, while on 4th October events were scheduled at Oberoi Mall and Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital.

The event held at Nanavati Hospital premises and coordinated by Dr. Rujuta Mehta, Consultant Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, NSSH, and assisted by Prajakti Shirsekar, Deputy Manager – Events, NSSH, saw ten schools (children & art teachers) and ten centres (centre coordinators & cerebral palsy kids) participating which resulted in creation of ten very beautiful paintings – each with a solution as to how a public places can be made friendly for all differently-abled people. Each canvas speaks a story, every colour silently points towards what is missing and what can be done to solve the issue.

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Besides, Mr Haresh Mehta – an artist, an entrepreneur and a cancer survivor – with his cardboard creations developed economic friendly affordable ramps for those who are wheel chair bound. More cardboard creations done by Mr. Mehta and team can be checked on his company website: http://www.jaynapackaging.com

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I am glad, I was a part of the event. You would have found me smiling looking at those cute little ones enjoying painting, sometimes singing with the guitarists, and mostly busy clicking & capturing  every artist’s stroke. Well indeed, it was a beautiful and fruitful Sunday morning – a day when with colours little minds have made it clear that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Statue” or “No Statue” – may be in future one with cerebral palsy will not have to freeze.

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…Ashu Bolar

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