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Taking that step, using a white cane

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In a previous blog post titled 'When two pairs of glasses are no longer enough' I mentioned that my vision had continued to deteriorate. As a result of this, I am now registered as partially sighted and it was recommended that I received training on how to use a long cane. Now, before this diagnosis I had limited knowledge on the world visual impairment and using a white cane. 
I was under the impression that there was one type of white cane, it was used by people who had very little or no vision and that it was a simple mobility aid to use. Oh how I was wrong! Safe to say I have learnt a great deal since being registered as partially sighted earlier this year.

A white cane is actually very unique to every person, despite coming in all different sizes and materials, this is only the beginning! To start with there are four types of canes:
Support cane, the best way to describe this cane is to call it a white walking stick. Very much like a symbol cane, it will alert others that …

Placement as an SEN Assistant

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Completing a placement is an amazing opportunity to gain experience, it can let you know whether that would be the right job for you. Equally, completing a placement can let you know which job you definitely do not want to do! At the end of the day, a textbook can only teach you so much- and trust me when I say I have had my fair share of psychology textbooks over the last academic year!
Right from the start I knew I wanted my placement to be in a high school setting, working with SEN students or mentoring students. I have had previous experience in a primary school and wanted to be able to compare this to a high school (despite already thinking that a high school would suit me better). After a lot of thought, and quite a few emails later, I chose to complete my placement at my old high school and sixth form. This may seem like an obvious choice, going back to a place I knew, going back to a place who knew me. However, I did approach various school in the surrounding area first and tr…

Teaching diversity within school

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Last month I attended a diversity and equality charter launch. This event involved all of the schools in my local area who came together and created a charter that they all would follow. As part of the event, each school gave their own presentation, covering issues on disability, gender, sexuality, age and ethnicity. The afternoon was so moving to be a part of, the fact that these schools (mostly primary) were covering such poignant topics with a high level of maturity was really special. It’s not like I expected them to be immature, more the fact that I was never taught this when I was younger, making it appear like an adult concept.
But why shouldn’t we teach children about diversity?
I have never had a lesson which specifically looked at these issues, yet it seems a fairly common thing to happen in classrooms now. Maybe if a lesson had been given about disability I wouldn’t have got bullied for something that was out of control. It would never be completely eliminated as bullying is …

What they didn't tell me when I started having seizures

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Having a seizure is definitely not nice (this being an understatement) and I actually cannot think of a positive- no silver lining in sight! Neurologists are able to give you a lot of information about seizures, after all they are the medical experts! However, sometimes it takes real- life experience of these things to take it from the medical textbook to everyday life. So after talking to other people, and using my own experiences, here is what didn't they tell us when we started having seizures.
Your memory will turn to mushNow I know 'mush' isn't a technical term, but we are trying to get away from the textbook, remember? After having a seizure it is very common to be confused and disorientated. Yet if we try and fight through this once we have come round, it is still there, often for longer than we care to admit. However, it is the general memory issues that get forgotten about, the walking into a room and not knowing why you have entered that room kind of thing. Th…

University Halls are no more!

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After spending 9 months living in university halls while completing my first year I cannot believe how fast it has gone! I honestly can't! I remember moving in like yesterday and how a group of strangers became friends. Like many things, when you have a disability these type of experiences will be slightly different to others- but that doesn't mean I have not learned a lot.




University halls mean independence for a lot of people, it is often the first time we leave home, moving away from family and friends we have grown up with, for me this was no different. Yet my independence wouldn't have been safe without the correct support being put into place. From the start of this academic year, I have employed two PA's to support me with daily tasks and within lectures. This experience has been a learning curve for everyone involved. When you are not used to being with someone for 12 hours a day it can take some time to get used to, even if you know they are there for your own …

When two pairs of glasses are no longer enough

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Our eyesight is something we can take for granted, with the vast majority of people not giving it a second thought when reading a sign or typing out a text message. Yet I guess you could say it is the same argument for walking, whether you're going up a staircase or to the shops, it just happens. With Cerebral Palsy it may make you question these things that others take for granted, I just hope this makes us appreciate what we have rather than making us feel like we are missing out, but as you can imagine- this takes time.
My vision complications started quite early on with a squint, since having an operation when I was younger it has drastically improved! I still notice it, mainly in photos or when I'm tired but nothing too major! I know 95% of people who know me will be completely unaware I have a squint (or a lazy eye as it's sometimes referred to) which in some ways is good. This has only led to a few people asking why I wasn't looking at them during conversations, …

Observations from a Part- time Wheelchair User

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I am a part-time wheelchair user, this means that one day I can use my chair, and the next I can be walking with my stick. Being able to use a wheelchair on a part-time basis allows me to managed my energy levels and reduce pain, allowing me to function more effectively in everyday life. I am exactly the same person whether I use my stick or my chair, so why does the behaviour of others sometimes change?
Over the last few years, I have noticed people act differently to me depending on the equipment that I am using at that time, yet it was when doing my food shopping, of all things, that made me realise what those differences were.


I've noticed that when I use my stick, people don't tend to mind. I sometimes get a few inquisitive looks as they tried to figure out why a 19- year- old is using a walking stick, but apart from that it is fine. People in shops talk to me, telling me how much the items cost and expect me to pay- good job really considering it is my food for the week…

Finding the Positives

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I have always thought that it is important to focus on the positives that you have in life, so when asked by Link Disability Magazine to write about this topic I was really happy to get involved! This is my first magazine article I have had the pleasure of writing so I hope you all like it!

Link Disability Magazine (Volume 26, Issue 1)

http://linkonline.com.au/read/?/p/view/issueID/56/i/1164 "When initially given a diagnosis for yourself or your child it can be the fear of the unknown that is the scariest part. I was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy (CP), affecting my legs and left arm, at the age of seven and it would have been impossible to predict how things turned out. I understand that CP can be very unique to the individual; for me it has meant muscle weakness, muscles being too tight and lack of coordination and balance. Although my speech is unaffected, it has resulted in pain, seizures and a visual impairment, but here is why I think it is a positive. When I was younger I …

4 years later...

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25th March 2013- 'Life as a Cerebral Palsy student' was created

   Over the last 4 years I have written a lot, and apart from the 6-month break in 2014, it has been pretty constant rambling from a student who has Cerebral Palsy. You've seen the highs, and the lows- and most probably everything in- between. You've seen me get through my GSCE's, A- Levels and first year of university. I hope you have gained a little insight along the way of what life is like for a student who has Cerebral Palsy, epilepsy, chronic pain and impaired vision while in mainstream education and attempting to fit in with peers. Yet the most important thing, I hope you have learned you don't actually have to fit in. It is okay to wear zebra print splints with a dress and it is okay to use a purple wheelchair one day and walk the next! If that is the only thing I have taught you then it has been 4 years worth my while.

   If I look back at my very first blog post it actually makes me a litt…

A Parent's Perspective of Cerebral Palsy

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Hello!

For those of you who are unaware, March is always a very exciting month for me. It is Cerebral Palsy awareness month, the anniversary of 'Life as a Cerebral Palsy student' and it is my birthday. March will mean that there is an even bigger push about awareness about Cerebral Palsy which in my opinion is great, although I appreciate my opinion is slightly bias! The core of raising awareness is often teaching people about the basic principles of Cerebral Palsy in the hope that they gain a little more understanding.
Cerebral Palsy is the most common motor disability in childhoodHalf of children with Cerebral Palsy were born prematurely Cerebral palsy doesn’t mean never walking. Many can, many will.There are four types of CP: spastic, dyskinetic, ataxic, and mixed.People with Cerebral Palsy use three to five times more energy than othersEvery case of Cerebral Palsy is as unique as the person who has itThree in four kids experience recurring pain as a result of Cerebral Palsy…