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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See the person not the disability
Can I just say that again- see the person not the disability. Now I'm sure you would have heard this quote at some point. I know I have, but that might just be because of my love for quotes in the first place. However (never straight forward is it!) this quote I have to disagree with. I always like to say that cerebral palsy is one piece from the thousand piece puzzle which makes up me. Therefore part of me. However I feel this quote is trying to separate the two, and that you can't be a person if you have a disability. Who knows- probably reading far too much in to this (English literature student alert!). I mean it's not something to be embarrassed about, or something that you should hide, if that's even possible to a certain extent. Normally if you are relaxed by the whole thing then so is everyone else- taking out the anomalies here. In a way it is true though. A disability shouldn't be the first thing you see/ think about when you see a person because it's a small part of them and their personality. Unfortunately that isn't always the case, because let’s be honest, we all do, but then isn't that the same for anyone who is different- you will notice that first. Notice that quirk that makes them stand out but is still just a part of who they are? We all have our own ‘image’ shall we say. You know, the way we look and everything. How we betray ourselves to the world. We just need to remember that you don’t choose to have a disability and therefore if it is considered as part of the image that we show then why should we be judged on that or be known for that? I guess as long as you don't prejudge them on that then that's alright? At the end of the day, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I guess this is just mine. A disability of some kind is not as rare as you would first imagine. See each person as them, everything about them is one piece of their puzzle.
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…