This online article was written by a woman with Cerebral Palsy. She asks for the Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week to be looked at from a different perspective. The awareness campaign traditionally puts out stories of achievement, inspiration and bravery. The author wants the stories of ‘forced normalisation’ to be heard. She comments that these stories put expectations on people with Cerebral Palsy to continually strive to ‘fix’ their bodies.
I like the term ‘forced normalisation’. The medical model of having a problem, having treatment to fix or minimise the problem and the negative self image is a part of being seen as normal – being able to fulfil a ‘normal’ role in society. The author comments that she feels a failure by using a wheelchair and not continuing to try fulfil the normalised role of walking.
Whilst working in an agency providing services for people who are blind or have low vision, I constantly hear the marketing team wanting to write a story about a students who has ‘strived hard to overcome the limitations of their vision’. These inspirational stories come from the ableist view that only able bodied activities are normal activities – I see this as forced normalisation.