I got into disabled activism around 17 and in a way, I’ve always known that my disability would never be something that I ignored. Since starting (guest) blogging in 2017 my strategies of managing my disability has changed with age but many of the changes that I have made has been a result of my studies. For example, that way I manage my speech impairment (don’t worry I’m not going into that again).
If you are a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I need to be active for example as I am writing this university has been finished for 2 weeks and I’m already twiddling my thumbs. Yet, studying occupational therapy and knowing about the importance of occupational balance: self-care, productivity and leisure has made me realise that I do need this rest. Of course, I still have bits of work and collaborations I want to do over the Summer but I’m not going to get these done immediately. I’m going to do a little here and there to increase my well-being as I have some lovely plans with friends and family too (at last).
Managing the physical aspects of my disability have changed massively as I am more aware of the importance of my posture which is something that I knew a little bit about before but was never on the priority list. Now I always try to sit and work on my laptop in my blue chair!
As I have talked about regularly I have also increased my workouts and my physio which I’ll be honest I wasn’t that good at whereas now it’s part of my regular routine well now that all my work is handed in.
I know, I know I’ve not really told you anything new today. However going back to point one about occupational balance I wrote a blog on this in the very early days of NTSP but I didn’t mention occupational balance once. As a disabled person of course you’re an expert by experience of managing your disability and you know what works for you better than anyone else. Knowing my occupational therapy theory has allowed me to analyse the way I manage my disability to make adjustments to make my life easier.
A good example is that I’ve totally graded driving. I would have hoped that my confidence with driving would be higher as I passed 8 months ago and this does frustrate me as I wish I wasn’t as scared but I’m getting there all because I’ve graded this. Since finishing university I’ve been going out more and my confidence is already improving (also blaming the fact that I’ve had no where to go in lockdown).
I’ve always been as independent as I can be and I strive to be more independent moving forward as I think about the future and I do feel part of that increase in my confidence and ability to gain more independence has come from my studies. Age is also a factor as discussed but my studies has certainly enabled me to feel more confident as a 21-year-old occupational therapist and disabled woman navigating the world.
Thank you for reading,