We'd known each other for a year and a half already, so he knew that I had mild cerebral palsy, a neuro-muscular disability that occurs when the brain's cerebellum is damaged, usually at birth.
Balance, fine motor, and speech can be affected, but a diagnosis of CP doesn't automatically mean a lower intelligence.
Pink conversation hearts and red cellophane-wrapped Russell Stover candy boxes have appeared in the drugstore checkout line, so that means Valentine’s Day is once again upon us.
It’s also an easy way to weed out the people in your life who are genuine from those who are not.
But most of all, I didn’t want to feel like I was selling myself out.
No matter if you love it or hate it, you find yourself thinking about dating, or the relationships in your life, at this time of year. But it can feel especially intimidating if you have a disability, or if you’re interested in going out with someone who has one. If you’re concerned that the restaurant you’re going to isn’t accessible, say so. The best way to be at ease—and to put your date at ease—is to be yourself and to have fun. If you’re with the right person, they will love getting to know you and being with you as you are. Don’t focus on the disability, but don’t ignore it either. Call ahead to see if the date you’re planning is doable—ask about accessible seats, entrances, restrooms and the space between tables. If you’re a little uncomfortable about your date’s disability it’s okay to be honest about that.
Before I mustered up the courage to ask out my boyfriend George, what ifs would pop unbidden into my mind all of the time. ”Come to find out, George had questions of his own. Good communication is key in any relationship, but it can be even more important when you have a disability. It never hurts to do a little planning of your own to make sure a date runs smoothly or to avoid that awkward moment when you and your date are sitting at the bottom of a flight of stairs with no way in the front door. It’s a part of who you are, but it isn’t who you are. Your date’s disability shouldn’t be your main focus, but you shouldn’t ignore it either. If you’re not sure how to best accommodate for someone’s disability, or if they need help, ask. It’s best not to assume that things will be accessible. They may have some additional thoughts and will certainly be impressed by your thoughtfulness.