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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What I want my peers to know
Sixth form has well and truly started with work mounting. Also new pupils come from other schools, this means I have been able to make some new friend which has been great. On the other hand, the minority have seen it as an opportunity to make judgment on something which they will know very little about- the purpose for this post. What I want all my peers to know.
The worst thing about having a disability is that they see it before they see you, before they get the chance to know you. I haven't even opened my mouth, yet I know you have a preconceived idea about me, but that's okay. I guess if you have something different from others then it is bound to happen. I mean, the stares, they are normal, that's part of human nature, I can life with that bit. It's the glares of disbelieve, that's what is upsetting.
Hear me out when I say what you see is a tiny part of me. A tiny part of what makes up me and my personality, but also a tiny part of my medical list. Just think about pain. Pain is invisible to the outside world, but perfectly visible to me on a daily basis. As you might know, I'm a part time wheelchair user. A reluctant part time wheelchair user at that. I may joke and say 'oh it's because I'm lazy' but that's probably because it's easier. It's easier then saying you are in chronic pain, no one wants to hear that, they want to know things are getting better.
Can I just say, I hate using my chair; it's the last resort. It traps me and can leave me out of control, shows I have given up and can't go on. If I am in my chair it doesn't mean that I can no longer walk, because I can. It means the pain has become too much to manage- like someone screaming in your ears. Yet you are still expected to concentrate in lessons and work. It means that fatigue is swallowing you up and not letting go.
I bet you won't know this but throughout high school my dream has to be accepted because I don't see the point in changing for you all, I believe I am very close to this and for that I am eternally grateful. However another one of my dreams has been to dance in the school show- something I am yet to fulfil. You see, I used to dance, before this got out of hand. However in the earlier years of high school I was shy and reserved, something that doesn't really fit my personality now... But now the barrier is the pain and fatigue, but also the physical barrier of mobility. I guess it's something I need to come to terms with, like a lot of things.
I am constantly reminded about how positive and smiley I am. I'd agree, I am. Although a smile can hide anything you want. It can also make things easier to deal with. Being happy is a lot more fun in my opinion, it also makes others believe that things are good. I believe 100% that things could be worse. For me everything is normal. normal is whatever you are used to. I also know it's possible to live in pain and not just survive. It is possible to create the most amazing memories and achieve the highest possible.
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…