KEEPING IT REAL: Autumn’s Story

KEEPING IT REAL: Autumn's Story
Posted on Thu 23 Dec 2021

Keeping It Real: Autumn’s Story

By Autumn Kinkade*

What is your current relationship with your CP and how has it changed over your lifetime?
My current relationship with cerebral palsy is a good kind of relationship. I do have moments and times where it's a love/hate relationship, but I feel like as I have gotten older, I have a different perspective of my disability now. I see it more as a blessing then a hindrance. I believe it has changed for the better in my lifetime because I can finally see the entire picture now that I am an adult with cerebral palsy. I see it in a completely different light than I did when I was younger.

What is the most unexpected part of your CP experience?
The most unexpected part of my CP experience so far has really been seeing how others see you differently, especially in the workforce area. For example, seeing how people treat me if I am taking too long to answer the phone or question due to my stuttering — that, to me, is one of the most unexpected things. Not knowing how people in general are going to respond in your weakest moments.

What advice would you give your younger self?

It would be to embrace your challenges and to not let them define you more than the challenges you’re facing. Your disability does not define you. God defines you and that is enough. It's going to be hard before it gets easy, but don’t give up. You’re going to make it and it will all be worth it in the end.

What do you wish you knew about CP?

The thing I wish I knew about cerebral palsy is how people would treat me in the workforce and how I would be seen differently. Also, I wish I knew the challenges that would come with doing my exercises.

What do you wish other people knew about CP? 

What I wish other people knew about cp is that it might affect our legs, muscles, and brain, but it doesn’t affect the way we think or care. CP is something we are diagnosed with, but it doesn’t stop us from being regular human beings just like anyone else.

What impact has CP had on your life?

CP has made a positive impact on my life and I am forever grateful to have it and show the world who God made me to be, not what CP tells me to be. Because of CP, I have had tremendous opportunities I might not have had without it. For example, I have become a published author of CP Can’t Stop Me. I am an ordained minister and a certified life coach. My CP is proof that God can use your greatest challenges for His good.

How has the pandemic affected you as a person with CP?
The pandemic has affected my cerebral palsy greatly, because with me not being able to drive as it is, just think what it’s like being stuck at home. Not being able to go out — let alone drive — comes with all sorts of challenges. However, it's made me more grateful and hopeful that even in the pandemic, cerebral palsy can be used to make a greater impact even while staying home.

 

*Autumn’s story is part of KEEPING IT REAL — a series of personal stories that will take you deeper into the lives of people with CP. Each person makes different choices based on what works for them, and we’ll showcase that — highlighting what life is like for them on a daily basis, what they care about, and the ways CP impacts them. 

The KEEPING IT REAL blog is intended solely to raise awareness about the varied human experience with cerebral palsy and shouldn't be read or construed to contain any medical advice or medical endorsement by Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation. Only you and your doctor know what's best for you. Please consult your doctor for medical advice.

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Mariah Kilbourne of YogaForCP shares her story via Q&A. Check back soon for more from Mariah.