Hi! My name is Chloe Tear, I am 19 years old and I'm a university student studying Psychology and Child Development. I have mild cerebral palsy which affects the left side of my body as a result of being born 8 weeks early and weighing 3lb 3oz, as well as epilepsy, chronic pain and impaired vision. During this blog, I will talk about what it’s like being a student who may face a few more hurdles than most. I hope you're able to follow my educational journey because anything can happen!
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Labels created by disability
The conditions are merely a label which I am determined to
break the written conventions which surround them. Labels provide a pre-printed
view which can often lead to unneeded social stereotyping. We state ‘everyone
is different’; yet disability is obsessed with grouping people together. Yes I
know it is used as a means to treat people and in the medical world I believe
it works to a certain extent. However if you take it out of that comfort zone you
get hit by reality.
I believe that there is a great deal of awkwardness which spirals
around mental and physical disabilities, but why? Scope have recently released
‘End the awkward’ videos on YouTube and I feel that they really do ‘hit the
nail on the head’ in explaining that we too are part of the human race and have
as much rights and deserve the same amount of respect. I am not saying that the
reasons behind this it is because the community is rude, certainly not. There
just isn’t enough education out there. I know that it is probably always pushed
in your face, yet I still am a part of a world which does not know how to react
to a wheelchair. Come on, it’s just a bit of metal with wheels which allows me
to get around. Also I’m not saying that wheelchair full/ part time users are
the majority but we do exist (4 in my school). You don’t see me staring at your
shoes now do you?
Furthermore if someone wears glasses I would like to believe
that most people get a positive response ‘ohh I love your new glasses’ yet they
wear them because they cannot see correctly and need support to do so (as well
has been quite a high fashion accessory). Flipping the tables, you don’t seen
anyone saying ‘ohh I love your new wheelchair’ yet that is used because I
cannot walk correctly and sometimes need support in doing so. Yes I know what
you are thinking, a lot more people wear glasses then people who use
wheelchairs, does that make the actions right though? I’m sorry to say but it
infuriates me, not the people, just the lack of education which is on offer in
a world people like to call equal and promotes equality. Equality may be
accomplished with ramps and lifts, but don’t you think people deserve to feel
Mindful had a petition to try and get mental health as part
of the national curriculum and I agree 100%. I feel it is a major issue which
is over looked and missed. Just because something is invisible does not mean it
is not affecting far too many young people and older people. If educated from a
young age it would get rid of the stigma which in turn would get rid of the
awkwardness for society but also for the individuals who have these disability
and will face the repercussions created by the stigma on a daily basis. Also I
believe that physical health/ disability has its right to gain national
curriculum. Personally acceptance is key so if you are able to maximise the
number of people who accept people socially the better, right?
At the end of the day disability labels exist for both
positive and negative reasons. However it does not define the person or limit
them. Everyone is unique and different. Disability is also a very small part of
the person’s life, despite it possibly having a daily affect. Why not keep it
that way? Together people can be educated and get rid of the stigma. Disability
is a small part of the person, look past the label and see the person, you
might be amazed what you find.
In order for me to complete university away from home, and get to lectures in one piece- a PA (Personal Assistant) has been vital in me being able to be as independent as possible. I have actually enjoyed the process of hiring PA’s despite it being a little stressful to find one in time. Yet, when looking for a PA, it had to be someone who could drive as well as being capable to suit all of my needs. By having a car it would mean that I could get to hospital appointments easily. However, when advertising it was often extremely hard to find someone who was fairly young (not that this is essential!), was capable of the job, could drive and was okay being with people aged 19- 21 all of the time. After 30+ applications it became clear this was all quite a big ask! Who knows my full medical history? Who would have experience in Cerebral Palsy, seizures and visual impairment? Who can drive and wouldn’t mind being with young adults all day? Who would actually quite enjoy lectures? There is a…
Dear Chloe, You're currently 7 years old and are about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. This journey will show you the world in a completely new light, it will show you things you never thought you would see, and allow you to meet people you might otherwise have never met. Unfortunately, this journey is tough, it will test you past the limits you thought you had and cause so much frustration and upset- but you are capable of overcoming this, you can find tremendous joy in every aspect of your life. You have just been diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy. You have never heard of this, and have no idea what it is! But don't worry- mum's done lots of research and has your back! These hospital appointments may seem strange, and unnecessary as you don't think anything is wrong, but it will all become clear with time. Ever wondered why you walk on your toes and fall over more than your friends? Ever wondered why you can't hop, struggle with maths and feel tired? Or hav…
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…