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  • Larissa Martin

Disability Doesn’t Vanish, So Neither Should Our Services

I live with multiple disabilities, including Cerebral Palsy. As a result, I went through my school years with the support of physical and occupational therapy. However, as my senior year ended, I faced the harsh reality that these vital services would soon disappear. And that shouldn’t be the case for anyone with a disability.

For those of us with disabilities, aging brings lots of changes. Yet, there’s a startling lack of research and understanding about the intersection of disability and aging and its profound impact on our lives. Recently, I stumbled upon a poignant Instagram post by Mary Fashik, a passionate advocate, echoing this sentiment.

Imagine if our support systems could and would easily transition with us as we graduated from the school system. 


Our quality of life would improve as our bodies receive the ongoing care they need. I reflect on how invaluable this is for all people living with disabilities. It would also have been so beneficial for me and my life right now. 

A few years back, I went to a concert in NYC with a best friend, relishing the excitement of the moment. Little did I know that the aftermath would confine me to the couch for nearly two months, grappling with excruciating tightness and spasticity. This was uncharted territory for me, a stark reminder of the challenges that come with aging with a disability.

Spasticity, a common symptom of Cerebral Palsy, stems from damage to the brain’s control over muscle tone and movement. While children with CP may not initially exhibit spasticity symptoms, they often intensify with age. My own experience serves as a testament to this reality. 


The non-existence of ongoing physical therapy exacerbates these challenges. 

I often wonder how different my life would be if I had access to the support I needed as I transitioned into adulthood. Society must acknowledge that children with disabilities grow into adults who continue to require support, perhaps even more so than before.


It is so essential that there is a collective shift in perspective. It’s time for the medical community, caregivers, and society at large to recognize that the needs of individuals with disabilities don’t vanish with childhood. We matter, and it’s high time our voices are heard. We would listen and hear what you need if the roles were reversed. It is time for society to do the same, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. 

All we want to do is live our best lives like everyone else, able-bodied or not.

Featured image via Marcus Aurelius on Pexels


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