Zach Anner has cerebral palsy (CP), which is a collection of conditions that impact a person’s ability to move, balance, and maintain posture (Cerebral Palsy Foundation, n.d.). Moreover, the most prevalent motor impairment in children is CP, and thus, many are affected by this disability. The term ‘cerebral” refers to something that has to do with the brain, meaning that this disability is the result of a malfunctioning of the person’s brain. “Palsy” means muscular weakness or difficulty utilizing muscles. Prior to watching Zach Anner’s videos, I was sure that people affected by CP could barely move and required much help on a daily basis. However, Zach’s work convinced me that although CP severely impairs one’s ability to function, individuals who have it can still work and be creative and perform activities that people without CP can. As Zach discusses in his video, CP impairs the brain, which means that his legs can work properly, but due to the damage, he is unable to walk (Cerebral Palsy Foundation, n.d.). The YouTube channel by Zach Anner is a very helpful resource for understanding CP and how it affects people, as well as for determining the ways in which one should not treat individuals affected by CP.
The video by Anner focuses on many details of CP. In the video ‘Top 10 Things I Wish People Knew About CP’, Anner describes the misunderstandings and unpleasant situations that people with CP face. For example, he states that although he is in a wheelchair, it is not a good idea to pet him as if he was a dog (Cerebral Palsy Foundation). This fragment shows that people often have a condescending manner of communicating with individuals in wheelchairs. This can feel humiliating and unfair as Zach is a person and deserves to be treated like an equal.
Apart from this video, where Anner describes the basic misconceptions most people have regarding CP, I have watched 10 of his latest videos, where he uses short comedic videos to express himself (“Zach Anner,” n.d.). In general, these videos have shown me that people with disability should not be treated in a way that can impact their dignity adversely. Instead, one should recognize their talent and creativity and their ability to care for themselves.
Through my online research of YouTube, I have found another person, similar to Zach Anner, who also has a disability and uses their platform to educate people on this condition. Molly Burke is a YouTuber who has been on this platform since 2014 and who is blind (“Molly Burke,” n.d.). Still, her channel helps one recognize that people with severe disabilities can function and do things in line with what individuals who do not have a disability can. I was particularly surprised by the fact that Molly has learned to do her makeup and her on her own.
Generally, if I did not know about Molly’s disability, it would be difficult for me to guess that she has some visual impairments. Through her videos, I found out that Molly is a blind YouTuber and motivational speaker, and in her videos, she shows her passions which are singing, downhill skiing, and horseback riding (“Molly Burke,” n.d.). She is also a cosmetics and fashion enthusiast, which is an important message that this creator sends through her content. Mainly, Molly allows people with disabilities to recognize that they should not limit themselves and do the things that they enjoy.
Most importantly, this creator’s work has been recognized through several awards for her contribution to spreading awareness about her disability. Molly was chosen as one of thirty women from around the world to represent SpecialK’s relationship with the United Nations’ Girl Up initiative to assist women in building their inner power in 2017 (“Molly Burke,” n.d.). Moreover, she was also featured in Samsung’s 2018 Oscars ad and interviewed by Megyn Kelly for the Today Show’s “Influence Her” series, which highlights remarkable young women who are changing the world through social media. Therefore, she has done much work to raise awareness about people with disabilities and the way they should be treated within society.
The most important thing about Burke and her message is that she has found a way to manage her life with minimal assistance. Since she was diagnosed with her condition at the age of 14, after which she has lost almost all her sight, she had to adjust many of the things she enjoyed doing. Still, Burke did continued doing her makeup and engaging in sports. Currently, she lives with her guide dog and her mother (“Molly Burke,” n.d.). In summary, I enjoyed this research because it has allowed me to understand more about people with disabilities and their lives. Moreover, I understood that most people with disabilities, such as Molly, do not allow their condition to affect their lives adversely, and instead, they try to do things they enjoy. Social media accounts such as the one by Burke are important for people to recognize the limitations of different disabilities.
Cerebral Palsy Foundation. (n.d.). Top 10 things I wish people knew about CP [YouTube video]. Web.
Molly Burke. (n.d.). Web.
Zach Anner. (n.d.). Web.