Review – Can I tell you about Cerebral Palsy

Can I tell you about Cerebral Palsy – Marion Stanton

Can I tell you about Cerebral Palsy

A short book from the Can I tell you about… series. I have already reviewed Can I Tell you About Aspergers Syndrome, and this book is similar to that one in terms of layout and it’s concept as an introductory guide to a condition for parents, teachers, and peers.

Like many others in the series – this book is written in such a way that it provides information for a new parent or teacher but remains accessible for older children and adolescents. Anyone younger than 9 or 10 might find some of the vocabulary difficult to understand, but might be able to access it better if an adult went through the book with them.

This book does manage to pack a lot of information into a relatively small amount of space. Written through the eyes of a girl called Sophie with Cerebral Palsy, we are taken through a variety of topics such as the different types of Cerebral Palsy, the need for independence, what causes Cerebral Palsy, and the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).

My talking computer is called a voice output communication aid or VOCA for short. It has a posh electronic voice which I like, but other people, especially grown-ups, take a while to get used to it. I must say that I would like it is there was a Geordie accent I could use.

There is a lot of space dedicated to AAC, and rightly so. In my work, I see shockingly few non-verbal students taught an alternative means of communication – and even more worryingly I have witnessed students being denied their preferred form of communication and being pressured into using speech. It’s place front and centre in this book is an important point and I’m glad to see it when so few introductory style books for parents, professionals and peers broach the subject of AAC.

We are also introduced to friends and other people Sophie knows as a way of demonstrating how Cerebral Palsy can present differently in different people and Stanton has Sophie give anecdotes about her friends as she describes education experiences, hobbies and passions, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy.

The book ends (as most books in this series do) with ‘How teachers/teaching assistants/family/professionals/others can help’ sections where very clear, practical advice is given for different groups of people.

Is it worth reading?

Yes – it’s very accessible and has a lot of information. It might be too difficult for many primary school aged children to read but most secondary school students would manage it. Due to the amount of information it contains it is an excellent introduction for teachers who will be getting a student with Cerebral Palsy.

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