Tag Archive: Spastic Cerebral Palsy

Without getting too technical, the simplest way to explain S.Q.C.P.

Cerebral Palsy – injury to the brain which controls movement of the body

Quadriplegia (or Quadriplegic) – all four limbs are affected

Spastic – spasticity in the body is high, affects the muscles, pulling the body in awkward directions

My Little-Big Sister

My little sister Gabriella, was born with Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy, three and a half years before I arrived in this world. Although Gaby is technically my older sister, she will forever be “my baby sister”


Most people wonder why they were placed on earth, what are they meant to be doing, what is their purpose? My purpose is… Gaby! (well, I think so at least!)

My parents have told me how Gaby used to cry every night before I was born and as soon as I arrived, she stopped. She had to be the big sister now. I have seen many pictures of Gaby lying next to me with her arm over me or rocking my Snug & Safe (baby chair) on the floor. She was looking after me!

As we grew older I never really saw a difference between Gaby and I. We were sisters who would play together just as any siblings would. Okay, our playing might have been very different to the norm but it was fun and hey, I never knew any different. Gaby and I did everything together, where she went I went, what she wore I wore. We were pretty much like twins. I was never apart from my sister.

It only started getting harder when I started school. People with disabilities were never spoken about unless you knew of someone personally. It was a very hush hush subject and this is where the problem came in.  Here I was, a bright cheerful girl who was so proud of my big sister that I was so confident to tell everyone about her… and that’s when those who were never exposed to people with special needs came in and changed my world. They would say mean, nasty and really hurtful things about my sister. That is when I became defensive about Gaby. No one, and I mean no one would ever be allowed to speak about my sister like that ever again. From then on out I became Gaby’s defender and protector. If someone even looked at my sister in a negative way, I would have it out with them. I did not care – Gaby deserved to be treated with the same respect as everyone else.

As I grew older I started becoming more confident and knowledgeable about Cerebral Palsy . This allowed me to approach anyone and tell them Gaby’s story and how she is no different to you or I. Gaby just needed more assistance, patience and understanding. This is why my family started Gabriella Centre – so that Gaby could have the chance to succeed in life, no matter how great or small. No one knows which way their life will lead, but one thing is for sure, I will always put my “little big sister”, first.

[Written by: Sabrina Del Fabbro]

[For more information on the Gabriella Centre, take a look at their website at www.gabriellacentre.org.za]

[For more stories of People Living with an assortment of Disabilities or Special Needs, click here]

Lachlan new 1

I’m a quadriplegic, not an inspiration

By Lachlan Nicholson

Fresh off of my twenty-fourth birthday and living with a condition known as spastic cerebral palsy, I consider most things in my life to be causes for joy and gratitude. After all, I have a full-time job, several good friends and though severe, my disability is not in any way degenerative.

However, one thing which has become a major annoyance, particularly since entering adulthood is constantly being labelled “courageous” or “inspirational”. Considering that I’ve been disabled from birth (brain-damage due to complications during labour), you might think I’d be used to it by now. The fact is that I’m not. You see, calling someone courageous tends to imply that they had a choice in their situation, like a fireman running into a burning building or a police officer taking a bullet to save a civilian.

Well, I hate to break it to you (no, not really) but had I actually been given the choice, I doubt very much that I would willingly have confined myself to a wheelchair for my entire sojourn on this little blue planet.

As for being an inspiration, people who say this to the disabled – usually with a quiver of sentimental reverence in their voices – are undeniably well-meaning, but none of them seem to realise the pressure such a statement carries.

If I were to attempt to live up to this classification, I would be unable to admit that there are days when I’m painfully reminded of my limitations and trust me, at times like those, my attitude is anything but “inspirational”.

This may seem stupidly obvious, but the most important thing to remember about people with disabilities is that even though some of us may look like human-vehicle hybrids, we are human and our personalities comprise far more than the challenges we face.

As a simple example, think about the following scenario; you head to a restaurant one night to enjoy a meal with some friends. Among those gathered is the new girlfriend of one of your mates. This is your first time meeting her; she’s smart, bubbly and attractive, except for a large, unsightly mole on her cheek. Now, unless you’re a complete social cave-dweller, it’s highly unlikely that the first words from your mouth would be, “Hey, nice to meet you. I’m really sorry about that awful thing on your face.”

So, what’s the point of this little rant? I guess it is my humble effort to remind anyone who happens to read it that disabled people are ordinary folks just trying to get by like our bipedal counterparts, perhaps just a little more slowly.

[To meet Uel Maree who had an unfortunate diving accident, click here]

[To return to the start of this series, click here]


From my friend, Dalene Reyburn: So, I’m honoured to be hanging out with Brett in this bustling corner of the internet to introduce the next Taboo Topics series: people with special needs.

I think Brett’s a hero for having the courage to open up these sorts of topics – things that are often ignored or misunderstood or too fraught with pain to be voiced. This series will give parents and others a safe space to be honest about difficult – confusing – deflating – journeys. A chance to recapture big-picture perspective, and to glimpse God’s glory.

Our eldest son is visually impaired. My husband and I know the emotional exhaustion – fumbling prayer – making stuff up as we go along – of parenting a child with special needs. We’ve done the pointless projections of long-term scenarios. We know how it feels to carry the tension of uncertainty and the fear that our child’s heart will be hurt by life. We’ve experienced people’s kindly ignorance. Sometimes we feel side-lined and sometimes we feel conspicuous and sometimes we’re tired of feeling like That Family. We’ve done anger (where the hell was God?), doubt (does God even love us? Or love our kid?), and guilt (did we do something wrong?). And every day we know the terrifying joy of watching our hearts walking around in someone else’s body.

We’ve also experienced incredible compassion – the enormous warmth and sincere interest of friends and family and total strangers who love us. So many have held up our arms. And this series is about holding up yours. Alongside Brett, I’m praying that these posts will be comfort and relief for brave parents of braver kids. Please come. And know that you are not alone.

‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said, ‘for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!’ Daniel 10:19

Meet Lauren van Zyl and her son Noah [A.D.D., Learning Disabilities & Auditory Perception problems]

Meet Louise Bowley [Asperger’s Syndrome]

Meet Shaina Cilimberg [Aspergers Disorder]

Meet Susannah and Monrovia Prinz – [Deaf, from a mom’s perspective]

Meet Kashveera Chanderjith – [Deaf, from a grownup’s perspective]

Meet Rebecca Benn – [Dyslexia]

Meet Steph Mclennan [Mild Ataxia – Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Keith Slabbert [Quadriplegic – Broken neck]

Meet Michelle Botha – [Retinitis Pigmentosa – Degenerative Sight Condition]

Meet Helen Laas – [Soft Tissue Spinal Damage – Car accident]

Meet Lachlan Nicholson [Spastic Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Gabriella Del Fabbro [Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy]

Meet Uel Maree [Spinal Cord Injury – Unfortunate Diving Accident]

[If you are someone living with a disability  or a parent of a child with a disability or know someone who might be up to sharing their story, please contact me at brettfish@hotmail.com – have some stunning stories on the way, but always room for more]

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