I get lost walking in my neighborhood that I’ve lived in for 5 years. Sometimes I turn the corner in the one-level elementary school building where I work and am uncertain how to get back to desk.
As hard as I try, I can’t seem to retain what side of the envelope a stamp should go on. All too often, I walk down an isle in the grocery store and swear they’ve remodeled. I find these skill deficits embarrassing.
I try to hide the fact that I don’t understand the physical layout of my surroundings or how to navigate from one place to another. Occasionally, I get a good laugh out of it, but when it comes to driving, I often come face to face with frustration and the vulnerable feeling of being lost and uncertain how to get to my destination—even if I’ve been there many times before. Is this normal for people with CP?
I brought this up at a recent appointment I had at Gillette this fall. While they were intrigued with my symptoms, they weren’t surprised. It may have less to do with the fact that I have cerebral palsy and more to do with being born premature. Whatever the cause, an occupational therapist had an excellent suggestion: Christmas is coming up; maybe I should ask for a GPS!
Santa Claus was good to me. I unwrapped a Garmin nuvi 50 LM that was sitting under the tree with my name on it. I’ve tried it out a few times while visiting friends over the holidays and have been very pleased. It has been the help that I’ve always needed but never knew how to ask for. It is like having a co-pilot come along as I journey in the car. I don’t have to stress about memorizing routes or missing exits. The map on the screen actually makes sense to me because it’s dynamic. I move my car and it follows along. Having a GPS makes me feel more adventurous and safe in the car.
I’m more willing to go more places and less afraid I will get lost. The Garmin is helping me find my way.