Hi! My name is Chloe Tear, I am 20 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!
Subscribe to this blog
Get an email when I update the blog?
Planning for the next chapter... university!
Time is going so fast at the moment, it feels like two
minutes ago that I started sixth form, never mind completing the first year and
now applying to university! I believe that this is something which is an enormous
decision for everyone, even just picking what you want to study can be
challenging in itself! However if you have a disability it can make the
decision of where to study even more complex than others. By going to a number
of open days it meant that I was able to see what disability support they offered,
whether this was a personal assistant, someone to take notes in lectures or the
way they could help in terms of exams. Personally I believe this support will
be really good in all universities as it is a requirement and a disability should
never stop anyone from perusing a higher education course!
By the time it came to apply I was fairly sure what I wanted
to study, even if it has altered slightly over the year. In the end I have gone
with study psychology and education/ child development (or some variation
depending on the university) with the hope of doing a PGCE afterwards. The end goal
for this is to work within a school setting, even if this doesn’t include
teaching, but who knows where it could lead me in the next 3 years! I just feel
that the support which I have been given with my education has been fundamental
for the success and would like to support young people in a similar way to
achieve their own goals. At the moment this would be helping students within a
high school or sixth form- not that I have anything against primary school….I
just had to find a university which was suitable.
Now I understand that everyone will have their own
requirements which they are wanting for the university, whether that’s the size
of the accommodation or the way which the class is taught, or what other things
they can offer for the students- let’s be honest, student life needs to be
good! On a more positive note the wheelchair accessible bedrooms are always
bigger than the average room, we all know wheels can give us a bigger bum.
However this still will differ depending on the university. My first choice has
HUGE accessible rooms, I’m sure you could get a double air bed on the floor (great
for when friends come and visit…. Hopefully!) I promise this isn’t the sole
reason it is my first choice.
Also university is going to a big change, moving from my
high school/ sixth form where everyone knows me, to the complete unknown. At
the moment if I fall, people expect it. If I have a seizure, people know what
to do, and in some respects this is just something which has come with time. I
have always said that going unconscious on someone is a great icebreaker and a
good way to form friends- I will stand by that. I have a great group of friends
who are able to support me in loads of ways, to start with that won’t be the
case at university, though I’m sure it won’t take long! In the meantime it’s
about making sure that support is put into place so that I arrive and
everything be okay. Also passing on information to the tutors which I will be
having, so I am able to get the most out of the lectures.
At the moment it seems like it is far too early to be
planning all of this, let’s just see if I can make it to the Christmas holidays
with all of the coursework deadlines met before we start planning the next academic
year…. It may feel like it is ages away but I know it will be here too fast for
my liking, along with these A- Level exams!
Just have to wait until I start getting offers now :o
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…
Like any new mobility aid, the cane was going to take some time to get used to. I may not have liked the idea of it all to begin with, but I felt the same when I started using a wheelchair and a walking stick- there seems to be a theme here! Yet, this felt slightly different, entering a new medical world of visual impairment.
After being registered as partially sighted in February, it was advised that using a white cane would be beneficial due to how my visual impairment affects my sight. I am not going to lie, this was a shock. If you have read previous posts on this then you'll know that I did decide to learn how to use a long cane in an attempt to stop myself tripping up over things, but I was quite apprehensive about using a long cane.
To begin with I did find it helpful during the training sessions and saw how it could be really useful for myself, but using it was another thing all together. The first time I used my white cane was when I was looking in a few shops with my fam…