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!
Subscribe to this blog
Get an email when I update the blog?
The end of 'Life as a Sixth Form student'
Yet again I find my find myself at the end of an era, moving on to 'bigger and better things' they say, when it only seems like two minutes ago that I had finished my GCSE's! After being at the same school for 7 years, I am not only finishing as a sixth form student but also saying a final goodbye to high school and all that it has entailed.
In my opinion sixth form has been amazing in so many ways. Let's forget about the stress of A-Levels, the late nights to get coursework in and students complaining over the dress code. I don't even see the point in bringing up the amount of times I have fallen in front of other people, merely because that would need a whole blog post of it's own. Instead, sixth form can only be described as the hardest, most rewarding, challenging, uplifting two years of my education to date and I wouldn't actually change a thing. Over the last two years I have gained a lot more confidence and with that has come opportunities like public speaking and the role of assistant head girl, certainly enabling me to keep busy and get involved with various things.
Within textiles lessons I must thank our teacher for crumpets and coffee on a Thursday morning, theory lessons can be pretty full on so that helped! Also, back when we were completing coursework making our final products we, without fail, had radio 6 on- it was just to scarily quiet if we didn’t. There was only 6 of us so lessons were always productive and could help each other with our individual products. I am still questioning why I made a fully reversible garment, but in true Chloe fashion, adapting your own pattern was just not enough. As part of the textiles course we went to Clothes Show Live every year, and there is always a fashion show. Now being in a wheelchair has to have its perks, and getting to have very near front row seats is definitely a massive bonus! Even better when you get to sneak two friends in with you, and the rest of the school is a lot further back.
Psychology. I actually only started this subject at A- Level and it is now the thing which I will be studying at university, so I must have enjoyed it! Psychology has definitely been the most fascinating to learn about in lessons, even if it has been the most complicated to get my head round at times- and to remember all of those studies!!! We had a great teacher who was very funny (apologies for stealing your desk chair when you were heavily pregnant!) The room we had our lesson in was extremely warm all the time, having heat as a major trigger for my seizures it made things interesting at times, but my class were great. The girl who I sat next to actually wrote in my yearbook “very best of luck, been lovely to get to know you and hope you find someone else to catch you” which I thought was really sweet.
Finally, but my no means last, health and social care- another class of 6 students. I believe that this subject alone has prepared me for university, not because of its content, but because of the coursework. During the year I have completed two pieces of coursework which were independently researched and referenced. By the end of it I have become an expert of health campaigns and polio/ bipolar. Being a woman of many words (not that I’ve noticed that one…) I tended to write the most and finished with 30, 000 words per piece of work, how this happened I do not know! With everyone doing slightly different topics there was a lot of “ah I can’t do this” or “how do you reference again?” to be heard from our classroom, but in the end we did all finish and handing in that final draft of the last unit was the biggest weight lifted ever.
Sixth form has been an opportunity for me to do all sorts of things besides grades, from being head of backstage for the school production to helping organise a talent show. Being the eldest in school I have really enjoyed working with younger students whenever possible- some of them are such characters! Over the past 2 years I have become super organised which has allowed me to balance these activities as well as complete coursework at the same time. However, when looking at extra- curricular activities some spring to mind, like the art trip to Holland. The art on this trip wasvery important and helped with coursework, but the highlight has to be bowling! Now imagine this, after a long tiring day in galleries let's put Chloe in bowling shoes (very slippery) and watch her attempt to roll a heavy ball down the bowling alley. The result being 90% of the time I would end up on the floor, but I didn't come last!!! Also the beginning of this year the senior students had a team building day which I took part in. I can assure you that planning did take place on this day, about how we were going to run the student council for that year and planning the recruitment assembly's for year rep's, but it also involved some raft building and canoeing along the way. It was going so well until the whole thing capsized and our raft fell apart- but a very fun day!
My school has also been so supportive, including the work that I have been doing outside of the classroom. From becoming the head ambassador for CP Teens UK and being honoured to write for ‘The Mighty’ and ‘Scope’ to getting members of staff to vote for the National Diversity award; they have been keen to share my work which is really encouraging. On the other hand, they have been very supportive in terms of accommodating for my ever changing health, which has been more extreme in the changes over the course of my A- Levels. At one stage I was having 7 unconscious seizure a day (luckily it is now 2-3 a week!) and they were all extremely helpful, I have no idea how many times I would have fallen off chairs if it wasn’t for the very fast reactions of staff and students alike.
During sixth form I have built friendships which made saying goodbye so difficult. You go from seeing loads of people on a daily basis, even if that is just saying good morning, to probably not seeing the vast majority of them again. To the students and staff, thank you for an unforgettable 7 years.
From sixth form student to university student, very excited to see what the next chapter has to offer- watch this space!
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…