Join Jill: 10 things you should know about my life with cerebral palsy
1. I can’t walk
Due to having cerebral palsy I can’t walk or talk, but does that stop me? NO! I am in a wheelchair and I get about a lot. Some people may see someone in my position and think “awwww, they must not be able to do anything”, but no – I am very active person. I go horse riding, swimming, skiing and a lot of more. But it’s important to remember not everyone who has cerebral palsy is in a wheelchair, some can walk or use a walker.
2. I have no speech
Having cerebral palsy means that I have no speech, therefore I use a communication device to talk. And does it make me quiet? No way! Some people might say I never shout up and I could agree with them. I must say that having no speech is the most difficult thing about having cerebral palsy, but I have my communication device which that helps a lot. I have done a few speeches and one of them was at the Scottish Parliament. And again, not everyone who has cerebral palsy uses a communication device to talk, some can talk or maybe find different ways to communicate, such as a symbols book.
3. Disabled access
Access in places is one of the hardest things about having cerebral palsy. It won’t be the first time that I have wanted to go somewhere and couldn’t because there wasn’t the right access, such as all stairs and no ramps, or no suitable disabled toilets with a hoist. Sometimes I’ve found myself needing the toilet when I am out but I couldn’t go because there wasn’t the right disabled toilet. But I must say there are more places now which have the right disabled access. There is an organization called Changing Places where they put in a disabled toilet with all equipment needed to make it fully accessible.
4. Meeting people
Due to having cerebral palsy I have met a lot of people throughout the years, such as support workers. It is a bit difficult to get to know new people all the time, but I must say most of time I get on with the people that I have met due to having cerebral palsy and they have become good friends to me.
5. Raising awareness of disability
Raising awareness of disabled people is a big thing to me because I feel that everyone is the same, just in different ways. Some people may just think that disabled people are just stupid and can’t do anything in their lives, but that is where making awareness comes in. Raising awareness of disabled people is to help people to understand disabled people and to show what they can really do in life.
6. Some people are scared or don’t know how to talk me
I find that some people is scared or don’t know how to talk to me because I talk through a communication device. They may ask someone a question about me when I am sitting there or they talk to me as a baby but hold it a minute – I am just a normal person so talk to me as you talk to other people please.
7. Awwww, it is a shame that you have cerebral palsy…
It is a shame that I have cerebral palsy is it? Eh I don’t think so, because cerebral palsy is not an illness so I am not dying. It is OK, I have problems in my life but everyone does and I don’t sit and think “I have cerebral palsy poor me” because it isn’t poor me. I live my life to the best I can, I have a family and friends who accept me for who I am, and I live a very full life. I work, I go skiing, horse riding and much more, so it isn’t a shame just because I have cerebral palsy – I love my life and I am proud of where I am today.
8. See me not the cerebral palsy
I hope everyone sees me as me, not as someone who has cerebral palsy. I know that my cerebral palsy is very noticeable because I have the wheelchair and talk through a Communication device. But I hope everyone sees me just as a normal person
9. Education and employment
My cerebral palsy hasn’t stopped me from achieving things at both school and in the workplace – I went school and then college where I did very well. And now I am a communications assistant at Bobath Scotland 2 days a week, and I am a volunteer at Quarriers one day a week. Some people may think just because I have cerebral palsy I can’t get a good education or work, but I can do all these things.
10. I am just the same but in a different way
Due to having cerebral palsy I know that I live my life differently from everyone else, but I do just same things as anyone else – I work, I talk, I do activities like horse riding and skiing. I may do all these things differently from you but I can still do them. Some people sees me or another disabled person and think ‘well they are disabled and they are not the same as me’ and fair enough nobody can be the same as each other, but at end of the day everyone is just the same but in a different way.
I hope this blog shows that although I have cerebral palsy, and I do have problems because of it, it doesn’t stop me from finding ways to live my life as normal as everyone else!