Cerebral palsy can’t stop Helena living life to the fullest

Helena Kidd lives an independent life despite cerebral palsy. She communicates with a board, pointing out letters and words with her toes.
Helena Kidd lives an independent life despite cerebral palsy. She communicates with a board, pointing out letters and words with her toes. Sharyn O'Neill

SHE is confined to a wheelchair and is unable to speak, but that doesn't stop Helena Kidd's sense of humour from shining through.

The Rockhampton woman has cerebral palsy.

She is determined and has not let the condition block her from undertaking a Bachelor of Business at CQ TAFE or from becoming the Queensland ambassador for bocce.

She will join in Rockhampton's celebrations for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week, which runs until August 3.

Using a specially made communication board where she uses her feet to point at letters, numbers and words, Helena explains why she thinks Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week is important.

"Sometimes people think everyone with a disability is the same," she said.

Karen Samuels is the service facilitator at Rockhampton's Cerebral Palsy League, and helps Helena with some of her day-to-day activities.

"Because of the way she looks, in a wheelchair, and because she can't speak, people think that she's not smart," Karen said.

"What you see on the outside doesn't reflect what's on the inside."

She said Helena lived her own life and made her own decisions, with staff just there to assist.

"She accomplishes everything she sets out to do. It takes longer, and it's a bit more of a struggle, but there's no stopping Helena."

This year's event for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week is called Community Fun in the Sun, and is being held at the Botanic Gardens barbecue area on Friday from 9am to 3pm.

It will involve sports, a jumping castle, craft, kite flying, yoga, balloons, a barbecue and even appearances from characters like Dora the Explorer and Superwoman.

The Cerebral Palsy League is inviting the whole community to attend.


Cerebral palsy facts

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children. It is a result of damage to the brain, and affects people in different ways.

It can result in a lack of muscle control and visual, hearing, speech and intellectual impairment. It is a permanent condition.

A study of Queenslanders with cerebral palsy born between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 2005 revealed:

  • The rate of cerebral palsy in Queensland is 1.6 per 1000 live births
  • 83% had spastic motor type cerebral palsy
  • 55% were able to walk independently
  • 28% could not walk functionally, or could not walk at all
  • 13% had some hearing impairment
  • 30% had epilepsy by age five
  • 39.3% had no intellectual impairment
  • 31.4% had a moderate to severe intellectual impairment
  • 57% were male
  • 49.1% were born pre-term

Topics:  cerebral palsy

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