Blogger Recognition Award

I believe that having passion about the topic of your blog is crucial. You must write a blog for yourself and for your readers, rather than recognition. When I started writing 'Life as a Cerebral Palsy student' I didn't think that one person would look at it and I honestly didn't envisage still writing it 4 years on. However, being recognised by another blogger is a massive compliment and something I really appreciate. 
I was kindly nominated by 'Life of a Blind Girl' to write this blog post. Her blog is about her experiences of having a visual impairment and covers a variety of topics around this area. As some of you may know, I am new to the visual impairment world and have written a few blog posts about this. Therefore, to be chosen by someone who I see as an 'expert' must mean I'm on the right track. Thank you Holly for the nomination and I recommend you all read her blog!

The rules:Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their …

Photography with a Visual Impairment

Photography allows you to capture things that you see, in the perspective that you see it. Whether this is landscapes, nature, portraits, fashion or sport; photography covers many bases and is something that I have always enjoyed. But how do you take photos if you have a visual impairment? I have been asked this a few time and the more I thought about it, the more I realise why I have recently got back into photography.
I always have liked taking pictures of people or of nature/ landscapes, if nothing else, it allows you to keep the memory of that time and means you can look back at things you have done with your family and friends. When I moved to university I made sure my camera came with me, it was a hobby that I wanted to continue- unfortunately it sat on my shelf and was rarely used. This was probably due to the whirlwind of first year, yet when I look back I did miss it- and surely first year wasn't that busy!

Another reason it didn't get used last year was because I tho…

When your mum becomes your PA...

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…

Chapter 2 in the World of University

How has first year even finished? The second year of university is when assignments count towards your final degree classification, which is terrifying! Even more strange then that, seeing freshers around campus and in the flat I once classed as my second home. Chapter 2 of university, I am sure you will keep me busy!
The biggest change about second year is moving out of halls. You loose the conveniency of rolling out of bed for a 9am and being able to go back to your flat in between lectures, but you gain a house! Living in a house with your friends has it's perks, and means it just generally feels more homely when compared to the way halls are. When searching for a house, I unfortunately made the process a little more complicated! To get a house that has level access, a bedroom and bathroom/ shower on the ground floor and is suitable for my needs can be like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. Yet we managed to find a 5 bedroom house that everyone was happy with, after being…

Have the Paralympics changed disability attitudes?

Now I know this is a bold statement, but bare with! Disability attitudes are something that has progressed over time- and thankfully has improved in the grand scheme of things. However, could a single event be responsible for such a societal change? 
Scope released a campaign last month about this exact topic, and I was fortunate enough to go on BBC Breakfast and take part in an interview about it. Yet this wasn't a topic I had previously thought about. As you can imagine, I have thought about disability attitudes in a more broader sense, just never in relation to the Paralympics. New polling for Scope shows over three quarters (78%) of disabled people say the Paralympics improve attitudes and four in five (82%) say the Games change negative assumptions to disability. However, a closer look reveals the Paralympics have a limited impact on disabled people’s everyday lives – just one fifth (19%) think Britain is a better place to be disabled than four years ago after the huge success…

A letter to my newly diagnosed self

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…

Taking that step, using a white cane

In a previous blog post titled 'When two pairs of glasses are no longer enough' I mentioned that my vision had continued to deteriorate. As a result of this, I am now registered as partially sighted and it was recommended that I received training on how to use a long cane. Now, before this diagnosis I had limited knowledge on the world visual impairment and using a white cane. 
I was under the impression that there was one type of white cane, it was used by people who had very little or no vision and that it was a simple mobility aid to use. Oh how I was wrong! Safe to say I have learnt a great deal since being registered as partially sighted earlier this year.

A white cane is actually very unique to every person, despite coming in all different sizes and materials, this is only the beginning! To start with there are four types of canes:
Support cane, the best way to describe this cane is to call it a white walking stick. Very much like a symbol cane, it will alert others that …

Placement as an SEN Assistant

Completing a placement is an amazing opportunity to gain experience, it can let you know whether that would be the right job for you. Equally, completing a placement can let you know which job you definitely do not want to do! At the end of the day, a textbook can only teach you so much- and trust me when I say I have had my fair share of psychology textbooks over the last academic year!
Right from the start I knew I wanted my placement to be in a high school setting, working with SEN students or mentoring students. I have had previous experience in a primary school and wanted to be able to compare this to a high school (despite already thinking that a high school would suit me better). After a lot of thought, and quite a few emails later, I chose to complete my placement at my old high school and sixth form. This may seem like an obvious choice, going back to a place I knew, going back to a place who knew me. However, I did approach various school in the surrounding area first and tr…

Teaching diversity within school

Last month I attended a diversity and equality charter launch. This event involved all of the schools in my local area who came together and created a charter that they all would follow. As part of the event, each school gave their own presentation, covering issues on disability, gender, sexuality, age and ethnicity. The afternoon was so moving to be a part of, the fact that these schools (mostly primary) were covering such poignant topics with a high level of maturity was really special. It’s not like I expected them to be immature, more the fact that I was never taught this when I was younger, making it appear like an adult concept.
But why shouldn’t we teach children about diversity?
I have never had a lesson which specifically looked at these issues, yet it seems a fairly common thing to happen in classrooms now. Maybe if a lesson had been given about disability I wouldn’t have got bullied for something that was out of control. It would never be completely eliminated as bullying is …

What they didn't tell me when I started having seizures

Having a seizure is definitely not nice (this being an understatement) and I actually cannot think of a positive- no silver lining in sight! Neurologists are able to give you a lot of information about seizures, after all they are the medical experts! However, sometimes it takes real- life experience of these things to take it from the medical textbook to everyday life. So after talking to other people, and using my own experiences, here is what didn't they tell us when we started having seizures.
Your memory will turn to mushNow I know 'mush' isn't a technical term, but we are trying to get away from the textbook, remember? After having a seizure it is very common to be confused and disorientated. Yet if we try and fight through this once we have come round, it is still there, often for longer than we care to admit. However, it is the general memory issues that get forgotten about, the walking into a room and not knowing why you have entered that room kind of thing. Th…

University Halls are no more!

After spending 9 months living in university halls while completing my first year I cannot believe how fast it has gone! I honestly can't! I remember moving in like yesterday and how a group of strangers became friends. Like many things, when you have a disability these type of experiences will be slightly different to others- but that doesn't mean I have not learned a lot.

University halls mean independence for a lot of people, it is often the first time we leave home, moving away from family and friends we have grown up with, for me this was no different. Yet my independence wouldn't have been safe without the correct support being put into place. From the start of this academic year, I have employed two PA's to support me with daily tasks and within lectures. This experience has been a learning curve for everyone involved. When you are not used to being with someone for 12 hours a day it can take some time to get used to, even if you know they are there for your own …

When two pairs of glasses are no longer enough

Our eyesight is something we can take for granted, with the vast majority of people not giving it a second thought when reading a sign or typing out a text message. Yet I guess you could say it is the same argument for walking, whether you're going up a staircase or to the shops, it just happens. With Cerebral Palsy it may make you question these things that others take for granted, I just hope this makes us appreciate what we have rather than making us feel like we are missing out, but as you can imagine- this takes time.
My vision complications started quite early on with a squint, since having an operation when I was younger it has drastically improved! I still notice it, mainly in photos or when I'm tired but nothing too major! I know 95% of people who know me will be completely unaware I have a squint (or a lazy eye as it's sometimes referred to) which in some ways is good. This has only led to a few people asking why I wasn't looking at them during conversations, …

Observations from a Part- time Wheelchair User

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…