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How do you describe your Cerebral Palsy to others?

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It can often be tricky to know how or when to disclose your disability. This could be describing it to friends at school or a potential employer when you are applying for a job. How on earth do you get it right and how do you say it in a way that people can understand? For Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month I've tried to write down how I would approach these situations and what top tips other people in the CP community would give.

Something that instantly stood out is that people alter the way they describe their CP depending on the situation or person. I personally know I have a few set ways I choose to describe it, almost like a little script! When looking back on old speeches I have have written, the way I choose to summarise it seems to be very similar. For example:

"It wasn’t until the age of 7 that I was diagnosed with mild Cerebral Palsy, affecting my legs and left arm. Cerebral Palsy is a group of lifelong conditions that effect movement and co-ordination, caused by brain …

Being a disabled young adult in 2019

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Having a disability can shape your life, whether you like this or not, being a disabled young adult is no different. I think acknowledging how it can shape us is important in understanding the role it plays within our identity. I know everyone will have a different view on how much their disability is part of their identity, and that's okay! I have lost count of the amount of times I've been asked a variation of this question, therefore it can only truly be answered in the form of a blog post!
"What's it like being a disabled young adult in 2019?"
Well, I hope you're sitting comfortably, this post has not been planned in advance and I'm not quite sure where we'll end up. All I can tell you is that it'll have highs and lows, victories and defeats, it will probably be quite unpredictable. 
If you replace the word 'post' with disability in the paragraph above then you have a pretty accurate summary of what it is like being a disabled young adu…

Cane Adventures: 18 months later

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When you use a cane most of the time it is often a shock to look back and see how long it has been. This time was no different, and here I am writing an 18 month review. In some respects it feels so much longer, it is part of my normal and I'm not sure what I would do without it. On the other hand, the changes that have happened over the last 18 months that mean I now use a cane still feel new and not quite right. This review couldn't have come at a better time.


In recent month I've realised those new to my blog might believe I have aways had a visual impairment, or that I was aware my sight would deteriorate, with using a long cane always being a matter of time. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Using a cane was never part of the plan, I've never had perfect vision, but for the vast majority of my life glasses have done the trick. However, over the last 18 months I've realised how little is known about partially sighted people who use a long white cane to help …

Interactions with the general public according to Twitter

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The general public are a funny one. At times they can get a bad name about all the discrimination that can be caused, how their potential lack of understanding mean any group of minority people are at risk. On the other hand, one act of kindness is praised and quickly finds itself in a video that has gone viral. Generalising their actions is not fair on anyone, yet here are some of my experiences that were documented on Twitter last year.

Even choosing a few general public encounters was a challenge. It turns out I document a lot of these, both good and bad. I find sharing these moments raises awareness about my everyday experiences and allow stereotypes to be broken. All the moments I have chosen were during 2018 and might offer a glimpse into the general public attitudes towards a young adult with a disability. Without further-ado, let's get onto the tweets:
"So, what's your story?" “So, what’s your story?”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re so young but have a walking stick, wha…

Dear 15-year-old me, an open letter to my younger self with Cerebral Palsy

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Last year I wrote an open letter to my newly diagnosed self (aged 7), I spoke about challenges I had overcome and the hopes for the future. So how could I possibly write yet another letter to myself? I think it is sometimes nice to look back to see how far you have come.
Dear Chloe,

You're currently 15-years-old, now despite only 5 years in the future, you’ve changed a lot!

It is probably just best to dive right in and talk about the obvious. You’re starting GCSE’s and there’s a lot of pressure to choose your options and plan out a career path. You are told it is something you need to think about, how the GCSE options will set the road for the rest of your life. Please do not worry! You’ve gone from wanting to be an occupational therapist, to a SENCo, to a psychology teacher and have now landed in the world of journalism. Each step of the way you thought it was the career for you, but that’s okay! You may even go on to change your mind again, but you now know anything is possible w…

What has 2018 taught me?

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Initially, I wasn't going to have a second blog post for December, I had anticipated to wait until 2019 before I wrote anything new. It has been a busy last few months and with winter weather going against me, it has been a hard few months. I've attempted to rest, read books and write more content outside of publishing. For the most part it is working, yet I couldn't stay away for long! 
It would feel odd to see 2018 end and not actually saying goodbye. It has been a year of new adventures and new challenges, surely they deserve a justified send off! So, here are 15 things I have learnt during 2018:
1. Public speaking is easier when you can't see the audience100% true! I have had the pleasure of giving a lot of speeches this year and it is definitely something I hope to progress further in 2019. The blurred people definitely make it not as nerve-racking!
2. Taking time out to read a book just means you can't wait to finish the book Thanks to my kindle, reading books …

What does disability mean to me?

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On International Day of Persons' with Disabilities I went round my university and asked this question. On the surface it may not seem too bad, yet the more I thought about it, the more it puzzled me. What was my response to this question? Surely this answer should be fairly straightforward considering I have had a disability since birth. I'm afraid this is not the case!
Disability will mean something different to everyone. It could be part of a personal identity or discarded on the floor like it just doesn't belong. Disability could mean weakness, or strength. It could be a family member or friend- most often it is the unknown. People said it meant equality for all, yet couldn't see the word in a positive light. One word, disability. This one word has been thrown around and used to inspire others, achieve 'regardless' or merely show differences between people. There is no key to unlock the secret meaning and rightly so. It is far too complicated to fit into a s…

Not so superhuman now!

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I feel like it has been a lifetime since I have done a life update, probably because they don't seem to do as well. However, that is what you are getting today! I am somehow in my final year of university and the first semester is coming to an end. Not to mention it's nearly Christmas!
Over the years I have been asked: How do you do it all? How do you manage to write a blog and study? However, I am no super human, I have no magic wand and I am yet to freeze time. I have written this blog for five and a half years, if you have been around that long (congratulations!) then you'll know I started my GCSE's at the same time. Writing a blog and studying is no easy task. Yet I have somehow managed to keep a consistent two posts a month for about 3 years. However, I am increasingly finding myself getting to the 20th of the month and panicking. What do I write? How will this blog post be different to the others? Don't get me wrong, I love to write. I think it is the one thi…

UK Blog Awards 2019

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Hello!

How are you all doing? Just thought I would put together a short piece about a very exciting announcement!

I have been nominated for a UK Blog Award!

To be recognised at this level is a huge honour and it is amazing to know that your blog is a source of education for others. It is also super exciting to be alongside non- disabled bloggers and to have my content recognised as an equal. The aim of my blog has always been to raise honest awareness about what it is like to live with a disability, I hope I do achieve that aim. Your vote and continued support would mean a great deal!

Simply click here, voting literally takes 2 seconds!

Ps. I apologise for the amount of exclamation marks in this post. The excitement is too much!!!

~ Chloe x

When you realise the whole world doesn't have Cerebral Palsy

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This may seem fairly obvious, of course the whole world doesn't have Cerebral Palsy! If we did then it would be a very wobbly place indeed! Just imagine the queue for lifts or how the sale of walking sticks would rocket. Maybe then the world might become accessible...


All joking aside, this is something I do sometimes forget.

I'm currently laid in bed after a day in London, I had an absolutely amazing time but my back, hips and knees are throbbing and I am hoping pain killers will kick in so I can actually get some sleep. I am wondering how I will feel tomorrow. I have a 9am lecture so I am hoping I will recover overnight and will be okay enough to sit through a lecture without too much discomfort. I also know this is wishful thinking and I will struggle to get out of bed. I have mentally scheduled time to lay down after my lecture in an attempt to get through the day in one piece. Thankfully I have no plans after my lecture so this will be more time to recuperate. However, th…

Disability and language

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Language and the words we use affect every aspect of our lives. Some would even argue that political correctness has gone mad and is currently out of control. However, today I am focusing on a very small section of language- the words we use to describe disability. Granted, this isn't a small area and I can already see that I have opened a can of worms, but this is my take on the large spectrum of disability and language.
Firstly, disability is not a bad word. You are allowed to say that someone has a disability and it is not something to be ashamed about. I've had people almost whisper the word 'disabled' at me as if I didn't already know, or that saying it out loud would make the individual curl up in a ball and cry. Don't worry, the fact I am disabled is not a secret! I believe sometimes people just don't want to get things wrong and I appreciate that. In the words of Stella Young, you've been sold the lie that disability is a bad thing. When in real…

Working as an intern at Scope

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You finish university for summer, all assignments are handed in and you feel free. You may have holiday's planned, a list of exciting adventures and can't wait to catch up with friends you haven't seen in a long time. I very fortunately can say I did all of that over summer, I also embarked on a 3- month internship at Scope.
Finding employment when you have a disability can be incredibly difficult. Aside from employers being less inclined to hire us in the first place, we need to find something that we would be able to do. I know there are jobs out there that I would be very capable at, but finding something part- time alongside studies has always been a challenge. In all fairness, I have never gone out of my way to find a job when I have been at university. My studies, writing a blog and various other commitments keep me busy enough! However, many of my friends who have jobs while at university all have similar roles: bar work, cafe's and retail. As much as I would lo…