Nikita Richardson
October 21, 2015 11:06 am

Each year, 10,000 of the more than 4 million babies born to families all over the United States will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect movement, and in some cases, brain functionality. In fact, CP is the most common motor disability seen in children. And yet, many of the 17 million people living with this disorder and others find that one of the hardest parts about being differently abled is the social rejection they face on a day-to-day basis. In an effort to be polite or to avoid an awkward interaction, people often avoid them.

But that can change — and all it takes is a simple hello.

In honor of its 60th anniversary, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) has launched a new public service campaign called “Just Say Hi,” encouraging everyone to treat those who are differently abled as you would treat any other person — with kindness, understanding, and respect. It seems like a no-brainer, but just saying hi is not done nearly as often as it should be. 

So far, the campaign has attracted the support of a cadre of notable people, including actors William H. Macy and Jim True-Frost (whose son, Leo, is living with CP), news anchor Gayle King, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, chef Mario Batali, and baseball player Alex Rodriguez. According to the CPF, it’s all part of an effort to bring normalcy to the lives of those born with disabilities.

“One real and immediate area of opportunity is simple engagement,” said foundation CEO Richard Ellenson in a statement. “While ‘just saying hi’ only scratches the surface of all we can do, it’s a simple and impactful first step.”

Look for the ads on CBS, billboards, and New York City taxis or join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #JustSayHi. And, of course, just say hi. It’s, really, as simple as that.

Related reading: 

The Comedian With Cerebral Palsy Who’s Inspiring Change

This mom’s email paved the way to a dream ballet class for differently-abled kids

[Image via YouTube]

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