My Journey Through High School With Cerebral Palsy


Karen Abdelmalek

Lucas Gnagy and his aid, Andi, walking to Lucas’s class.

I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth — a condition that impairs my muscles and makes it difficult for me to coordinate my movement.

I attended Tierra Linda Elementary School and Las Colinas Middle School as I was growing up. My journey through school has shaped who I am today; for example, throughout my schooling, I grew more optimistic as I began to cope with my disability. However, I also started to understand that people lack the knowledge to completely understand my situation. I have been asked many questions over the years, and the following are the most common:

Why do you use a walker and a wheelchair?

– Simply, I have Cerebral Palsy which makes it difficult for me to move my muscles and requires the wheelchair and the walker.

Does it affect how long you live?

– No, cerebral palsy does not have an effect on my life span; however, it disturbs my muscle coordination.

Can you function normally outside of your house?

– Yes, if there is something I want to do I will find a way to do it, even though I might do it differently than someone without a disability.

How did school accommodate for your condition?

– Cam High provided me with an aid, who helps me get from class to class as well as in long writing assignments. The aid also helps me take tests that are not multiple choice.

Are you going to college?

– I am not sure if I am going to college, but if I do attend a college, it will be either online or a community college, such as Moorpark or Ventura.

What do you plan on majoring in?

– I would like to major in video production or something related to creating videos.

How did school help you find out who you are?

– School made me social because I need to ask many people to help me. Also, my teachers have grown to understand my condition and help me become a good student.

What do you want to do in the future?

– I would like to create videos about games and movies that come out.

What would you tell someone with a disability?

– Address people who make you feel uncomfortable and stand up for who you are. Also, if you want to do something then you have to strive and never take “no” for an answer.