Living with Cerebral Palsy: ‘Part of My Life, Not My Whole Life’
A U-M alumna and Michigan Medicine researcher living with cerebral palsy speaks about her journey — and offers advice to others.
A generation ago, most infants and toddlers with cerebral palsy were not expected to reach adulthood. But thanks to modern treatment advances, more attention and focus within the medical community and greater acceptance in society, more people are living long, full lives.
Caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, usually before birth, cerebral palsy can lead to cognitive and physical difficulties of varying degrees. It is the most commonly diagnosed disability in children.
Jodi Kreschmer knows the challenges firsthand. The 29-year-old was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth.
Still, she has long maintained a positive outlook: “My mom and dad raised me to know that disability is part of my life, not my whole life.”
The native of Chesterfield Township, Michigan, earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University in 2010 and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 2013.
Today, Kreschmer is a research area specialist associate in Michigan Medicine’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, where she helps teams investigate a range of issues affecting people with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities.
She spoke recently about her own health care journey and offered advice for others: