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We got the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy when Lelia was 18 months. I was really happy, as we didn’t know what was wrong with her before then. She had low tone. She couldn’t roll over. She couldn’t sit up. Of course she didn’t walk. The diagnosis gave it a name, something I could work with, and I became a kind of vigilante mother, determined to get the best care for my daughter.
Photo of Lelia Purky wearing a straw har with a yellow flower with blue doodles
Mental Wellness Among Adults with Cerebral Palsy
Mental health care should be included at the outset, as part of discussions around physical, occupational, and speech therapies. I’ve seen studies on cerebral palsy’s effect on caregiver mental health — and that is important. Caregivers are part of the cerebral palsy community, too. It’s an interdependent one. There’s not enough about the nuance around how having cerebral palsy affects mental health.”
Drawing of the profile of a person with a heart in the center of the brain
Will the “Post-Pandemic” Workplace Be More Inclusive of Employees with Disabilities?
As cities and states across the countries are lifting the COVID-19 lockdown orders, people are returning to work at their offices. However, since the virus is still very much going around, employers must be vigilant about keeping their workplaces as safe as possible. Although we might be seeing a sense of “normalcy,” there’s still a long way to go before reaching the pre-pandemic normalcy—if we
Sarah Kim sitting at a desk doing work. Text is article title Will the “Post-Pandemic” Workplace Be More Inclusive of Employees with Disabilities?
People with Disabilities Also Have Diverse Sexualities and Gender Identities
A year ago, I wrote in my Forbes column about the decades-long pattern of Pride Month celebrations excluding people with disabilities. The underlying reason why Pride events were (and still are) mostly inaccessible for people with disabilities, both in terms of physical spaces and social acceptance, is that mainstream media and public don’t see them having identities outside of their disabilities.
"People with Disabilities Also Have Diverse Sexualities and Gender Identities" is written in text above a representation of different people, some using wheelchairs, some using crutches, some standing without assistance. The representations of people are all in different colors reminiscent of the pride flag
What Companies and Schools Should Learn About Disability Accommodations from the COVID-19 Outbreak
As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to sweep through the country, there are increasing orders from local governments for residents to stay at home, unless they’re essential workers. Both professionals and students are relying on Zoom and other video conferencing software to work or learn from the comforts of their home, although such measures, in most cases, were not permitted before the pandemic.
"Learning from Disability Accommodations for COVID-19" written in text next to an image of writer, Sarah Kim
How I’ve Learned to Celebrate My Late Birth Mother
Saturdays were special as a kid growing up in Port Washington, New York. Saturdays meant Burger King outings with my grandparents, a great big slice of trade-marked Hershey’s chocolate pie for me and piping hot oatmeal for them. And we can’t forget about the Kids Meal toys. But on this particular Saturday, everything was different - at the tender age of five, I started to notice that certain aspects of my life were just off.
"How I’ve Learned to Celebrate My Late Birth Mother" written in text to the right of an image or writer, Sarah Kim, as a child
Friendships in the Time of COVID-19
I don’t know if this is just me, but my time in quarantine has made me have weird flashbacks to my childhood. As a kid growing up with CP, especially with a speech impediment and mobility limitations, my lifeline to making and keeping friends was through AIM (AOL Instant Messenger, for those of you who are too young to remember) and one of the first video chatting platforms, ooVoo. Fast forward 15 years, many of us are in a similar situation. To slow the spread of COVID-19, most of life has moved online, including friendships.
"Friendships in the Time of COVID-19" written in text below an image of writer Sarah Kim
A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Travel: Part Three
My cousin, Reeva, had recently moved to Kyoto, Japan to learn Japanese for a year, and she convinced me to visit her there. I didn’t know anyone else living in Japan and Reeva was going to be there short term, so I couldn’t possibly pass up going! I was admittedly pretty nervous about traveling all the way across the world— a 24-hour long plane trip, including a layover— especially to a country that uses a language that isn’t remotely like anything I was used to. But, again, I wasn’t going to miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Travel: Part Three" written in text above an image of writer, Sarah Kim, in front of a river in Japan
A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Traveling: Part Two
Welcome to the second part of my travel series! In the previous post, I wrote about how I found my love for traveling through my trip to Madrid and Paris. Looking back, not only do I realize that these trips took place during very different phases of my adult life, but they also mark the different phases of my CP in recent years. Although CP is the result of a non-progressive brain injury, many folks experience a decline in their physical abilities in their adult years — the inevitable effect of aging, not just for those with disabilities, but for everyone.
"A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Traveling: Part Two" in text above image of writer, Sarah Kim, in front of Jackson Square in New Orlean's French Quarter
A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Traveling: Part One
My boyfriend and I had planned a beach vacation for mid-March a month in advance. We were still determined to go on the trip even as COVID-19 was trickling into America. At that time, the virus was relatively new, and no one seemed to know how it affected people, and if it only targeted those with preexisting conditions and the elderly. So, thinking that we were invincible, we packed our suitcases and hoped for the best
"A Trip Down the Memory Lane of Traveling: Part One" written in text below image of writer, Sarah Kim, in front of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France
Growing Up in the 90s & 00s with Cerebral Palsy
As I progress in my career as a journalist and writer, the more attention and followers I receive on social media. Every so often, I receive a direct message or email from young readers, explaining how I’ve become a role model for them. They express the inspiration they gain from witnessing me not allowing my cerebral palsy get in the way of following my dreams. It was then that I realized I am now the role model that I desperately needed when I was a young girl.
"Growing Up in the 90's and 00's with Cerebral Palsy" shown in text surrounded by images of 90's reminiscent items such as roller skates, a boombox, and a gameboy, all against a green background.
Things You Should Consider Before Going on Birth Control
I remember when I was considering going on birth control a few years ago, I wanted to find out how, if at all, my cerebral palsy would cause certain side effects. As a naturally anxious person, I was paranoid about getting pregnant, although I always used protection. So, I wanted to have ease of mind by having an extra level of prevention. However, to my dismay, there weren’t any resources available that addressed the complexities a woman with cerebral palsy might encounter when going on any form of birth control.
" Things You Should Consider Before Going on Birth Control" shown in large text in the middle of the image surrounded by images of different types of contraception such as a condom, birth control pills, and an IUD
Navigating CP and Depression at the Same Time
There is insufficient research on adults living with cerebral palsy, (as referenced in my previous blog post on cerebral palsy and adulthood). Although there is a paucity of studies examining mental health in this population, medical researchers have speculated that the rate of depression is three to four times higher in people with disabilities such as CP than it is in the general population.
"Navigating CP and Depression at the Same Time" is shown in text above an illustration of a person in a wheelchair colored in blue