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Couple at gymMany individuals who have cerebral palsy, like Maysoon ZayidJosh BlueJohn Quinn, and Ryan McGraw, have all practice yoga to improve balance, coordination, stability and movement while strengthening the mind.

Yoga is a mind and body practice that originated from ancient Indian philosophy. It focuses on slow, controlled movements aimed at stretching and relaxing your muscles. By holding certain poses for a specified amount of time, yoga can improve posture by relaxing and strengthening the muscles around the spine.

30-year-old Ryan McGraw has cerebral palsy and practices yoga in the suburbs of Detroit. He said, “Of course, we’re not going to look like the people on the cover of yoga magazines posing perfectly when we’re doing yoga. But we don’t have to do the poses in the way that everyone else does as long as we find a way that works for us that gives us the same benefits.”

While the physical needs of people with disabilities vary, there is one constant: Everyone, regardless of their physical capabilities, needs to find some way of staying as fit as possible. Individuals like Ryan believe that yoga may be the solution for people with cerebral palsy.

“It improves strength, coordination and flexibility,” he said. “Those are the physical issues a person with cerebral palsy has to address.”

Erin Feeny, a young adult with cerebral palsy, spends an hour each week practicing yoga. Her mother, Louise Feeny, believes yoga has helped her daughter with digestion, trunk control, stamina, and breathing. When Erin was able to blow out birthday candles for the very first time on her 19th birthday, Louise said it was thanks to yoga.

While no official clinical trial has been conducted on the effectiveness of yoga for cerebral palsy, and the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability state that regular yoga sessions can help people with cerebral palsy improve their muscle tone as well as reduce tension in muscles and joints.

Yoga isn’t limited to just adults. Jamie of, a yoga instructor, has a six-year-old student named David who has mild cerebral palsy. “I had no idea how beneficial yoga would be for David,” said Jamie. “He lights up when he comes into the room and sees me setting up the mats!”

Sonia Sumar, who runs Yoga for the Special Child®, LLC, describes the benefits of yoga for individuals with cerebral palsy:

“The practice of Yoga poses (asanas), followed by deep relaxation, can help to significantly reduce high muscle tone, which is characteristic of most children with cerebral palsy. Holding an asana gives the muscles and tendons a relaxing stretch, releasing overall stress and tightness throughout the musculature and around the joints. At the same time that asanas are relaxing the body, they also provide just enough resistance to exercise low muscle tone areas of the body. In this way asanas actually improve both high and low muscle tone problems in children with cerebral palsy.

Perhaps the most important aspect of asana practice for children with cerebral palsy is its ability to stretch and realign the spine. Asanas flex and twist the spine in all directions. This scientifically designed series of stretches and counter-stretches helps to create more space between the vertebrae and reduce pressure on the disks and nerves that radiate out of the spine. Reducing the pressure on these radial nerves facilitates the release of muscular tension throughout the body and enhances overall nerve function. As a result, the child is able to develop a greater range of movement and coordination, as well as greater independence.”

If you have cerebral palsy and have had experience with yoga, we would love to know in what ways it has helped you. Share your experience by leaving a comment below.

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Do you pay it forward?

Source of Inspiration



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Random acts of kindness,
first we offer to our family.
Can we feed starving kids
in Africa while letting
someone we love go without?

Charity must begin with
intention stemming
from a loving heart.
Are we thoughtful,
generous, kind to each
with whom we interact?
Our thoughts, words,
actions must be charitable
at all times. We do not
need others to approve
our actions. Be silent,
discreet in your giving.

C are, open your heart
H elp yourself by helping others
A llow the person their dignity
R each out to those in need
I nvest in others
E ach day practice charity
T rue charity starts in the heart
Y are your brother’s keeper

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Higher pay for disabled employees could put them out of work

Diana Simmons (right) of Marion and Patti Loth of Cedar Rapids work on a repackaging project for a tool company at Options of Linn County on Williams Blvd. in southwest Cedar Rapids on Thursday, April 1, 2010. Employers worry that if Senator Tom Harkin changes the legislation on subminimum wage, many disabled workers will be out of employment. (Julie Koehn/The Gazette)

Faith Millburn earns about $1.25 an hour working for Goodwill. She knows that’s less than minimum wage, and she thinks it’s fair.

The 21-year-old with cerebral palsy, who on Thursday was typing labels at Goodwill of the Heartland in Iowa City, is at the center of a complex debate over what to pay people with disabilities for their work.

Part of the fallout from the mistreatment of workers in Atalissa is renewed scrutiny of a federal law that allows employers to pay disabled workers less than federal minimum wage. Even a distant threat to that legislation is troubling to organizations like Goodwill, who say they can’t afford to employ as many workers at higher wages, and to Millburn, who thinks she would have trouble finding a job working for minimum wage.

“I think it’s funny that they want to change it,” she said. “The way it is now is fair.”

Because of the Atalissa case, where mentally disabled workers were paid only $65 a month to work at West Liberty Foods and an Atalissa farm, Sen. Tom Harkin wants to review the law.

Here’s how the law works now: Instead of paying disabled employees minimum wage, organizations like Goodwill and Options of Linn County can get a certificate to allow them to pay disabled workers less than minimum wage. The organization measures how much work the average able-bodied worker can complete in an hour and then times its disabled employee and pays him or her according to productivity. Sometimes employees are paid according to the number of tasks performed, instead of hourly.

“All of that is documented,” said Dana Engelbert, spokeswoman for Goodwill of the Heartland in Iowa City.

In Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, hundreds of disabled people hold jobs like this with Goodwill, Options, Systems Unlimited and REM Developmental Services. Some 81 employers in Iowa are authorized to pay less than minimum wage.

“Phasing it out means that, for our agency alone, right around 500 clients would be without a job,” Engelbert said.

Options of Linn County employs 125 people at its southwest Cedar Rapids facility. Disabled workers sort paperwork, coil rope into buckets and screw bolts into nuts. Options gets contracts from private companies, and the work changes as contracts are completed and new ones come in.

Jim Nagel, director of Options of Linn County, said most of the workers simply wouldn’t be hired in the private sector.

“They would either have to go to some kind of day programming, or they’d have to stay home,” he said.

The Iowa Association for Persons in Supported Employment wants to work toward eliminating subminimum wage, president Lonnie Matthews said.

“The ideal system would be that there’s enough money in the system that everyone could make minimum wage or above,” Matthews said. “It has to be done very, very carefully.”

Harkin understands that groups like Goodwill are able to employ people with disabilities because of the subminimum wage legislation and acknowledges the importance of that ability, spokeswoman Bergen Kenny said. Still, he would like to give people with disabilities more choices.

“He remains concerned that some individuals employed in (such) programs are being paid far below the value of their work, as was so clearly demonstrated in Atalissa, and is looking at ways to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place,” Kenny said


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True Origin Of Cerebral Palsy May Be Genetic By SHAUN HEASLEY February 1, 2012. Web site Disability Scoop

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I do not know if this fact is for real. I think some more studies need to be done. Otherwise take this study with a grain of salt.

. Long thought to be caused by problems at birth, researchers now say that in most cases cerebral palsy may actually originate in a person’s genes much like other developmental disabilities.

The finding, reported online in the journal The Lancet Neurology in January, comes as cerebral palsy rates have remained steady for over 40 years despite marked progress in medical care during and after birth, the researchers note.

“There is a widespread misconception that most cases of CP are caused by difficult delivery leading to birth asphyxia,” said Andres Moreno De Luca of the Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and the lead author of the paper. “What we’re finding is a growing body of evidence that suggests mutations in multiple genes are responsible for CP. In fact, we suspect these genetic abnormalities may also be the cause of some difficult births to begin with.”

Scientists already know of six genes that are associated with cerebral palsy when altered, but Moreno De Luca and his colleagues say that more will likely be identified.

Further understanding of the genetic roots of the disorder could help bring about better therapies for those with cerebral palsy, the researchers said.



Copyright © 2012 Disability Scoop, LLC. All Rights Reserved.


Baseball is the only place in life where a sacrifice is really appreciated. ~Author Unknown

Picture of baseball pitcher Gio Gonzalez on Au...

Picture of baseball pitcher Gio Gonzalez on August 17, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When My mother was three months into her pregnancy with me she contracted the Germen Measles Which was in 1958. Back then the doctor caring for my mother said that I might be born blind. Well that fact was proven wrong because when I was born I was not blind. Everyone thought Well Kathy ( me) dodge that bullet, but that could have not been more wrong. In my first year of being on this planet I was not cognitively developing the way a baby should. I could not roll over , sit up, hold a spoon or bottle.   At that time the doctors did not know what was wrong, and so to make a long story short a spinal tap was performed  on me and that when a final diagnosis was pronounced witch was Cerebral Palsy.


The definition of Cerebral Palsy from Wikipedia which is:” Cerebral Palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centers of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy, during childbirth or after birth up to about age three.[4][5]Resulting limits in movement and posture cause activity limitation and are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception and other sight-based perceptual problems, communication ability; impairments can also be found in cognition, and epilepsy is found in about one-third of cases. CP, no matter what the type, is often accompanied by secondary musculoskeletal problems that arise as a result of the underlying etiology.[6]


Pretty depressing is it not? The one thing that Wikipedia does not say is that not no two people with CP have it the same way. Some people with CP can have it very severe  where they are latterly a vegetable. Some people will have a very mild case where they will walk with a slight limp.  My CP is I guess considered moderate. In that my motor ability are   impaired.  I talk with a slight speech impairment,  I do not walk, and  I  have trouble with spastic hands. My mental function is fine So in the medical world I am considered high functioning.

 Now to get back to the story at hand. After I was diagnosed with CP  the doctor had said a scary prognosis’s to my parents saying that I had CP and that my life would never be that as of a normal functioning person and that as of right now your daughter probably does not even know who her parents are. You both should consider putting your daughter away (meaning an institution   ) Well right then and there my parents promptly got up and said: “Who are you to tell us  that Kathy doesn’t know who her parents are. Kathy knows darn well who we are, and we are not putting her away and forgetting about her. What an awful thing to say”. We came to you hoping that you would point us in the right direction to go into to give her the best care. At that point the doctor said there really nothing we can do. My parents then got up with me in hand and said we will prove you wrong.

At the time when all this was going on my farther was playing for a Simi pro baseball  Leigh as a left handed picture. He was at the time actually  scouted  by the Philly’s baseball team and accepted  into there team. Well a week before my farther was supposed to go into training camp a ball was thrown into my farther left hand that   smashed his fingers  needless to say his ball career was over. My  farther had to have surgery where then a steal plate was set into his left index finger. He then had to have intensive therapy on it to regain the use of his left hand.  My  farther  was then directed to go to a place called the Curative Workshop for his therapy Which is in Wilmington Delaware. When my farther started his therapy He noticed what a great place it was and that indeed there staff knew what they were doing. So my  farther  asked if they would consider taking me for therapy. At first they said no because they never really worked with any children with CP. My farther then said well at least try Kathy out for six months and see what happens. If it does not work out then we know at least we tried. With that being said they went on and took me. I did so well that the six months turn into a year and then into three years. I was not only able to sit up , but they got me up walking a bit, and I was able to then feed myself. Because of my farther pioneering spirit other kids with CP were then taken into therapy and helped I think that is one big amazing story that really turn a native into a positive.

Today I am married, have two boys. and have worked full time as a SR Support Analyst  for a major bank here in Delaware. Not too shabby is it not?