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!
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2016, what have you meant to me?
It's pretty normal to get to this time of year and reflect on
the last 12 months, but what has 2016 meant to me? This year is actually
extremely hard to put into words. I hope you just continue to follow this
journey and have enjoyed reading my posts throughout the year!
I've been hospitalised more times
this year than I have in my life, going from one extreme to the other with my
health. While things have improved I've certainly had my fair share of knocks
to slow down this process. I'm sorry for starting with such a negative topic,
but these things happen, it's been a big part of my year- just not the only
factor of my year. It's even been suggested that hospital appointments should
be an added module for my university course! Although physically I may be
struggling at the moment, earlier this year I was walking the best I have in a
very long time and know for certain it is possible to get this back in 2017-
hopefully keeping it up for a little longer this time! Medically it has
also meant that this year I had the transition from child to adult services (in
most things) and in others seemed to be left floating in the middle. This year
I've been through a lot of different health departments, some being able to
provide answers and some not. Yet their favourite phrase has been "your
case is too complex for me, I'll refer you to the specialist", trust me
when I say this gets boring pretty quickly! Some answers have been found in
2016 and I would definitely say they are closer to figuring out things like pain
and seizures, yet this is something that will continue to be part of 2017.
However, it most certainly has not
been all doom and gloom, in terms of education I don't think I could be
happier. Gaining better A- Level results then I honestly thought I was going to
get and starting a brand new chapter at university. This in itself was a
massive step, moving away from home, starting a new course- hiring PA's to
ensure my independence and safety. My Sixth Form gave me so much confidence
which has only helped me on my university adventure. Despite only starting this
September I've managed to settle in really well and made some great friends who
I cannot wait to spend the next few years with. Managing education along with
everything else that is going on has never been the easiest, did you know
people with cerebral palsy use 3 to 5 times more energy than everyone else? I
am not surprised we are all tired! When looking through my past posts I know
that I said (many times) that I wanted to be an occupational therapist. When it
came to applying to university I changed my mind, not only because I wouldn't
pass health exams, but also due to studying psychology at A- Level. This is why
I cannot think of a better course than psychology and child development for me
to study! Although I know I want to work with children, the fact that it is all
very open at the moment is great- who knows where I will end up!
Another big part of my life is this
blog, and the vast number of opportunities this has provided over the last few years,
with the last few months being the best yet! Did you know that over the last 12
months I've been able to DOUBLE my page views from 13,000 on 1st January 2016
to 26,000 December 2016? This alone is unbelievable and actually leaves me
speechless. I write because I love writing, I honestly couldn't imagine not
writing a blog anymore. It's become the norm to educate, to bring about change
and to be honest about my own experiences, but that's fuelled by a passion for
understanding. That understanding could be through educating people who have no
idea of the medically challenges I face, or getting others to understand that
they are not alone in their journey. Why do something alone when you can do it
together? It can't get much simpler then that.
When thinking of the opportunities I
have been given this year I'm completely blown away. One thing has led to
another and it's snowballed more than my wildest dreams. I became a writer for
an organisation called 'The Mighty' and have had three pieces of work published
for them as well as continuing to work with Scope and having four pieces of
writing published across this year. As well as continuing to work closely with
CP Teens UK, an organisation that means a great deal to me! Also, over the
last 12 months I've gained five awards, two being at a national level!!!
Chances like these have meant I've been able to expand my work so much further
than before, yet this is what has made this year truly special. I didn't expect
to achieve this in a lifetime, not to mention one year! I've been to some
pretty fancy award ceremony's this year, any excuse for a new dress, right? It
is these evenings that have meant so much. It is these evenings where you
sit back and appreciate life. You become so inspired by people in that room who
have faced so much, who have achieved so much, who have so much wisdom to
give. I love hearing about what they have done, what positive
changes they are putting into the world. To be in a room with other people who
have such passion about life, and the stories they have to tell- it honestly is
a feeling like no other.
This year has shown me that anything
is possible. Don't take things for granted because you don't know how long it
will be there, but enjoy! Enjoy every single moment that you can, and carry on
doing what you love.
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…