Working as an intern at Scope

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…

A disability advocate who wishes to hide her disability

Being a disability advocate, blogger, campaigner and public speaker is a personal choice. I choose to write a blog and to share my experiences with other. I also choose to stand up for others and would like to see a positive change within society. However, there are also times when I wish I could hide my disability and pretend it wasn't there.
Now I realise the title probably doesn't make sense. Being an advocate has meant I have put myself out there, it means I have shared aspects of my life that many people choose to keep private. Surely you have to be completely confident about having a disability to disclose this kind of information on the internet? You couldn't be more wrong. I know there is nothing wrong about having a disability and I am extremely proud to be able to do the work that I do, but even disability advocates need a break. 
There are times when you wish you didn't have a disability. Even if this is just a fleeting thought in the back of your mind. Ther…

Let’s get down to business: #WhatMakesMe

Summer is almost a distant memory, I move back to university in less than a week and I am wondering if it is too early for hot water bottles! Believe it or not, I am about to start my final year of university- and final year of education for that matter. If you follow me on social media, then you will probably have seen that this summer has been far from boring! I somehow have managed two holidays, seen Wicked, had seven articles published, spoke at a conference, caught up with friends, been to a festival, met Vicky Pattison and spent two months working as the online community intern at Scope! By the sounds of it I will be going back to university for a rest. Before I move back into halls and things get serious I thought I would write a something a little different.

Gem Turner, a fellow Leeds disability blogger and all-around amazing woman, tagged me in her #WhatMakesMe blog post and challenged me to do the same. We all have parts of our identity that make up who we are, so why not sha…

What do I want able- bodied people to know?

When you have a disability there will be certain aspects of your life that abled- bodied people won't be able to relate to. This isn't necessarily because they aren't trying or because they choose to alienate disabled people, there are just some things that can be hard to get your head around. However, as a disabled person in the 21st century there will be things that the general public can do to create a more inclusive environment.

Generalising the attitudes and behaviours of able- bodied people would be the same as generalising that every disabled person is the same. I know not all able- bodied will contribute to what I am about to say and if you don't then I am very thankful for this. This is merely my experiences and some of the things I would like you to know, with reassurance from other disability campaigners that I am not alone with these thoughts.
1. We often feel excluded
How we are viewed within society can make us feel excluded. There almost seems to be a sep…

When Cerebral Palsy comes to the festival...

It is two weeks after I attended my first festival and I absolutely loved the experience. Despite still recovering (or at least I think it is the festival I am recovering from) a blog post needs to be put together to document my thoughts.
I attended YNot Festival in Derbyshire on the 27th- 29th July and the only phase that seems to come to mind is "what a night!" from Mamma Mia. It is safe to say the experience was a positive one. However, you cannot leave Cerebral Palsy at home when you choose to go on such adventures and despite the perks it may bring, it is not the easiest thing in the entire world. Sometimes it would be a whole lot easier to leave it at home for a weekend, let CP rest in bed while you go out and have fun...

Despite this, accessibility at the YNot Festival was really good! On arrival I received a PA wristband for my friend and we camped in the accessible campsite which was a lot closer than general camping. The weekend brought sun, wind and rain- but in tr…

Cane Adventures: 12 months later

It seems very odd to say that I have had my cane for a year, because it really doesn't feel like that long. Initially, I had intended to wait until October to write this post due to not really using my cane until then. However, I guess not using it, and the reasons behind that, are all part of the journey that I have been on. Also, it is the 150th anniversary for RNIB and I felt this post could work alongside the stories they have been publishing and follow that theme.
I had briefly known about getting a cane before I was first introduced to one, but even then it seemed unexpected and unneeded. It was first mentioned by an ECLO (Eye Clinic Liaison Officer) after I described the things that had changed as my vision deteriorated and the things that were starting to be problematic. However, holding one made it seem all so real. No more hiding a visual impairment behind glasses. I have say, it was slightly heavier then I first anticipated and getting the hang of it took a while. It ta…

To pace or not to pace, the art of getting through life with chronic pain

When you have a disability or chronic illness it can be vital to pace yourself so that you get through the week in one piece. However, I’m currently on the train to London and about to speak at a conference. So, you could say I am falling at the first hurdle!
When I was about 15 years old I started to get involved with more health specialists like occupational therapists and pain management teams. They all loved the word ‘pacing’. Long before this word was introduced to me I had already been pacing myself to some extent. In a nutshell it’s about not over doing it. If you have a busy Tuesday, then be sure to have a relaxing Wednesday to recover from the adventure. For the most part I follow these guidelines and have become pretty good at planning things that are a little spaced out. 
But life doesn’t always follow this rule.
What if loads of exciting things come up at once, or I have two day trips in a row? Sometimes I would be sensible and choose which one I wanted to do most, sometimes …

Going on holiday with Cerebral Palsy

After finishing my second year of university I couldn't wait to go on holiday. With my health improving it meant I could get travel insurance a lot easier and therefore wasn't going to miss this opportunity. I was fortunate enough to go to Spain with my family and then go to Portugal with my best friend. However, going on holiday with Cerebral Palsy can be a little different, but that should deter you from going away.

Before the holiday
How we all wish we could spontaneously jump on a plane, fly to somewhere warm and be on holiday, but some level of planning beforehand is vital. Like I have just mentioned, travel insurance was a lot easier to get this year compared to the past. Unfortunately, being hospitalised more than once in a period of 12 months can be extremely problematic when you want to leave the country! I would still recommend looking at comparative sites to ensure you get the best deal and that they are fully aware of your medical needs. Next on the planning list wa…

Work placement with RNIB

Part of my university degree is to complete a six-week placement at the end of your second year. With my degree being in psychology and child development, it will come as no surprise that most of the cohort end up in schools or nurseries. However, after thinking about the career I would like after university, and looking at the experience I already had, I felt something a little different would be more appropriate. 
This is where RNIB came in. The charity support blind and partially sighted people in many ways and I had worked on campaigns with them in the past. I felt doing a placement with RNIB would allow me to be on the other side of the charity, as well as support others in a more journalism kind of way. By doing so it would mean I would be moving slightly away from psychology, moving away from children and just get more experience in that field in general. After being in touch it was decided I would work two weeks in each role: connect, fundraising and campaigns.

For the most part…

White Cane Vs Yellow Stick

This blog post was first featured on the Our Disability Community:

Having multiple mobility aids can be tricky, especially when both are needed. Yet it can be even harder when you can only use one at once. I've used a walking stick for about 4 years and it is safe to say that I've relied on it fairly heavily. Aside from giving it a name (Peppa and Albert) it has allowed me to walk further with less falls- not to mention the fact it was purple and then yellow! Then the long cane made an appearance last October. With my eyesight deteriorating and being registered as partially sighted in March 2017 the long cane has now been on the scene for about 8 months, it too has been an invaluable mobility aid when given the chance.

But how can someone use a stick one day and then a cane the next? Also, how do you decide which one to use?

Granted, I know it is theoretically possible to use both at once, two hands and two aids, but try telling my left hand that! I'm pretty sure if I tried m…

What is it like to have a PA?

Since coming to university two years ago I have had a Personal Assistant (PA) to help me with various daily tasks which has allowed me to live independently away from home, attend university and socialise with friends. It feels very odd to think they have been in my life for only two years as I cannot imagine life without their support as it has allowed me to do so much. It definitely is not part of the normal university experience, but it has been fundamental in my experience.
But what is it actually like to have a PA?
Over the years I have adjusted, and it is probably more of an adjustment then you think. You get very close to who ever is supporting you, and it is probably fair to say they see you more then they see their own family sometimes. To begin with it can be so hard to define the role of a PA, with them being there to help you but not constantly look after you. On the other hand, their role may differ slightly from day to day depending on what is required. On Monday I could …