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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Hate crimes are not acceptable
Apologise yet again for not posting in a very long time, things always seem to take priority which means the hobbies end up at the bottom of the pile. However for the time being I am taking a break from coursework and I am going to write for you instead. From the title you have probably guessed what I'm going to write about, but please still keep reading.
Unfortunately this post might not be as cheery as you might have hoped, but I believe that it will still be a good read- also highlighting how there as to be some negatives. Hate crime is not a subject which is widely spoken about, or even commonly known, but they do happen more frequently then you realise. When I looked into this disability hate crimes have increased by 213% since 2013. As a society that claims to be improving equality for everyone (despite the people who unfortunately never will be accepting of any kind of diversity) I found this extremely shocking. I have been lucky enough to go through life with minimal teasing, until a few weeks ago. I’m not going to go into details, because that’s not relevant, but targeting someone because of their disability is not acceptable- and never will be.
For me it wasn’t really what they did that was upsetting, it was the reasons behind it. The fact that a lot of people in my position would just let it pass. Either being too shy to say something or not having the ability to get their point across- feeling even more helpless. It's not acceptable to think that anyone with a disability is any less. We are just as smart and confident and not afraid to have our voices heard, even if that means I talk a little too much....
However disability hate crimes, suggest we are the vulnerable ones. They mistake it all for weakness when in fact it's probably the reason why we have achieved so much. Having a disability is just one part of who you are as a person and shouldn’t get in the way of life, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Having cerebral palsy does get in the way, it is a massive pain, and honestly not very enjoyable. On the other hand it’s how you overcome the challenges that matter, having that little victory if you spend all day off the floor, surely a life of small victories is more fun. Having a disability of any kind will change your life, but who’s to argue that it has to be for the worst? As strange as it sounds, without cerebral palsy I don’t think I would have achieved what I have, so why target me, or anyone else with a disability?
Finally, I know from experience that having a disability can take time to accept. Imagine if someone was new to their condition, surely being the target for a crime due to their condition is only going to set them back. People should not be defined by something which they cannot control and I don’t believe anyone deserves this. Disability is one piece of the thousand piece puzzle which makes up an individual, let’s see the disability as a small factor of them and stop disability hate crime.
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…