Understanding the Experience of Growing Older with Cerebral Palsy

Authored by: Laura R. Moll , Cheryl A. Cott

Handbook on Ageing with Disability

Print publication date:  March  2021
Online publication date:  March  2021

Print ISBN: 9781138611498
eBook ISBN: 9780429465352
Adobe ISBN:


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Typically, gerontologists think about disability as presenting in an individual in old age, after living a relatively healthy life and having fully participated in activities related to school, work, family, and leisure. Less often do they think of persons with early onset disability who then age. Yet the experience of individuals living with the consequences of early onset of physical impairment is not characterised by the same trajectory as individuals who age into disability. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the experience of growing up and growing older with cerebral palsy. Many individuals with cerebral palsy are at risk and have encountered problems as adults that interfere with participating in daily life. Even so, there remains a dearth of research on ageing with cerebral palsy. Using narrative research, this chapter draws on the stories of nine participants and explores their experiences of growing up with cerebral palsy. It indicates a growing need to develop and implement a continuum of care across the life course for people as they age with cerebral palsy.

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