What I Would Tell My 10-year-old Self

At the end of the week, I am turning 20 (2 decades) however, before I look forward to the third decade I wanted to reflect on my last decade and talk about what I’ve learnt. I was debating discussing everything that I’ve learnt in the past 20 years but then I realised that it was only around the age of 10 or a bit before when I started to understand a bit more about what having a disability meant (I was actually 9 in this cover photo but it’s cute and as I sit here writing this blog I’m still 19 so). Not only this if I did the whole 20 year’s I think we’d be here a while, we all know I ramble at times I mean I’ve used 2 sets of brackets already… oops!

If I could have a conversation with my 10-year-old self now I would have a lot to tell myself about my disability, I’d probably overload myself we all know I can talk for England. But in all seriousness I wish I had the perspective now of my disability at 10 because it would have made my life a little easier, however, on the other hand, I don’t because I’ve never hated my disability I just used to get a lot more frustrated at it. I guess there’s a pattern to most things, for example, bereavement. If I was born as someone who was never fazed by her disability than who to say that it wouldn’t have affected me later? They’re still good days and bad days, however knowing what I know now and having the attitude I do these bad days are certainly less bad.

But I think the biggest thing I want to tell myself is too keep, on going and be motivated. For example, I always believed that I was never the most academic in school and I’m not saying that now I am, but this belief came from the sets I got put in and the environment. But, now looking back I am better academically then I ever gave myself credit for-story time… When I started secondary school I was put into the lower ability sets, only until a year I got moved up and one teacher turned around to me and said: “I’m so sorry Georgia, we judged your academic abilities based on your disability”. At the time I was shocked but also a bit smug in the nicest possible way, and if I was to talk to my 10-year-old self I just said work hard, stay motivated because it’ll all be worth it in the end. At 10 I did start noticing the gap between myself and my peers and it is hard because I couldn’t do my work fast, I’d always need a scribe and one-to-one but what’s that matter because without that input I wouldn’t be where I am today. If my primary school one-to-one is reading this, I love you! My one-to-ones at secondary were also amazing but my primary one-to-one had such a big impact on my life! Yeah, I stood out and got more support but the one thing I’ve realised in this past decade is that I deserved that support and it’s taken me a long time to realised that but now I no longer feel guilty.

On the flip side of this, I would also like to tell myself that at times it can be tough, and as positive as you try to be, they’re days where insecurities get the better of you. Teenage insecurities, insecurities about university and placement and the biggest one being relationship insecurities. But it’s okay everyone has insecurities disability or not. The teenage insecurities are hard as I’ve already mentioned the gap between peers gets bigger and they’re nights when I cried myself to sleep as all I’ve ever know changed; that’s life and I can now say at 20 I’ve never had so many friends. School friends, university friends, friends from CP Teens up and down the country and friends through social media, the list is endless, I’m a lucky girl!

Now I have different insecurities- when I was in my teenage years it was more about friends and friendships whereas now, I’m 20 (19) I have more insecurities about relationships that, to be honest, I’m still not ready to share. But what I would tell myself is not to get too worked up over that- I never really did as a teenager it’s more so now but I would still tell my teenage self not to worry and just be focused because now I don’t even have time for a relationship even if (though) I want one. Side note, if you follow me on Twitter you will know that this is something I don’t talk about as much as I should, but I’ve skimmed over it in this blog so baby steps.

Lastly, everything is a battle, so I’d tell myself not to give up and be determined! I mentioned this before in my blog about Unexpected Battles (which was also my birthday blog last year, maybe there’s a theme here). But even when it gets hard just keep going because the ending will be more than worth it (this attitude is not always the best though and this is why I’ve not written a relationship blog but hey I’m not that bad). All jokes aside whatever challenges I have faced the end result is always worth it!

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

Establishing Effective Terminology to Minimise Barriers

As previously mentioned, I am very active on social media, Twitter in particularly- as I find this a very useful tool to connect with other disabled people and occupational therapists not just across the UK but worldwide. Not only this, social media platforms such as Twitter are useful to educate people about disability, and how to approach a disabled person. In which I think is really useful and as a disabled individual in higher education, I find this really important as it’s amazing how many people have called me ‘inspiring’ just because I’m at university which to me is not inspiring because that’s what a lot of people my age do. However, I’m also aware that the people who call me inspiring are only saying this with a kind heart and therefore need educating in a nice way rather than been made to feel belittled…

Now that I’m older and have a better understanding of my disability, I am noticing more and more that some comments towards my disability come from a very uneducated view. One comment that sticks in my mind which I often got as a teenager was “You’re getting much better at walking now” which came from people who saw me in my wheelchair most of the time. Obviously, I wasn’t getting better at walking and will never get better at walking. I used to always thank people when they said this with part of me wishing I should have said “Oh no, my legs just aren’t as tight today.’’ Which looking back now I wish I did say, because how will people know unless they’re educated? But the other part of me was saying just be polite this comment has come from a kind place. Which leaves me with a question… How do we educate people on how to treat disabled people in the correct way?

It’s 2020 if you’re an individual that hasn’t come across a person with a disability then you’ve probably been living under a rock; the reality is some people haven’t and therefore don’t know how to treat disabled people. Yes, treat us like ordinary people that’s a given but I don’t agree with calling a person ableist if they think they’re saying the right thing… Let’s go with the classic example “I don’t see you as disabled”- when people say this to me I’d be lying if I said it didn’t annoy me a little because I am disabled and if you don’t see that you’re looking passed a big part of me. However, on the other hand, I know that when people say this it’s coming from a good place it may not be the right place but it’s still a good place. Yes, these people need to be educated about this, but I don’t think writing this on social media with the hashtag ableist is the right way forward either. I bet, if the majority of the people who make these comments knew that it didn’t go down the way that they intended it to they’d be mortified I know I would be if I made an uneducated backhanded compliment about someone else’s disability. That’s why I don’t think shaming them on social media is the best way to go around it, even if names aren’t mentioned. Say something about it and question them, by all means, but when it’s unintentional, shaming them and getting on your high horse isn’t going to gain their respect.

I know more than anyone what it’s like when you’re making small talk with the taxi driver and you can literally hear the eggshells they’re stepping on because they’re scared to bring up the disability or say something wrong. But, I’d rather they say something wrong so that I can educate them rather than them not speaking because otherwise how are people going to learn? People learn from mistakes and without addressing these comments people will never learn. However, why create a bigger gap by making them feel disrespected? They’re still valued members of society.

If I made a comment and someone had taken this the wrong way, I’d want to respectfully be told why. My comment may not have come from the right place, but I can grantee that it will have come with good intentions and therefore I wouldn’t want to be treated with disrespect. My role as a disabled activist is to educate people, but not only this it’s to minimise the divide between disabled and abled bodied people not to maximise it, but with the wrong attitude towards these comments it could easily turn that way.

Therefore, a big part of this is establishing the correct terminology and phrases, instead of it being “I don’t see you as disabled” it could be…. “I see you for you” which is an ordinary girl who is totally happy with living her disabled lifestyle.

Or…
“I see you as disabled and…” Margaret Spencer, @margaretOT360

“I just see you as a person just like anyone else.” Craig Evans @dyspraxicot

“I acknowledge your disability, but it doesn’t define who you are.” Francesca Hughes @Franariella

“Do you mind if I ask how your disability affects you?” Natalie Williams @Natalie_MLW

The cover photo on this blog has been picked as unfortunately on that night the correct terminology wasn’t used!

With establishing this correct terminology people can still be educated but in a less belittling way. When some says “I don’t see you as disabled” yes, I want to ask why but I don’t feel belittled because I know that wasn’t their intentions. So why do they deserve to feel belittled? They deserved to be educated respectfully and if I ever did feel belittled, I would tell them why in a respectful way and make them understand before coming to the judgement that their ableist.

A lot of attitudes around disability need to change: the attitudes of people who are just dam right ableist, the attitudes of those that feel sorry for the disabled but also the attitudes of people who think that someone’s sympathy is them being ableist. I’m not saying that these sympathy comments don’t get annoying because they do; that’s why it’s called being sympathetic and not being empathetic. During my next placement, in the up and coming weeks, I will be working on changing people’s attitudes towards disability from a service user, students and a healthcare professional’s perspective. But which one will I find is the most suitable? The answer is probably going to be all 3, but until I complete this placement and have reflected, I don’t know.

Change is good, and I’m aware that even in 2020 we still need to change people’s uneducated or naive attitudes regarding disability. But treat people how you want to be treated, right?

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

A Year of Not So Terrible Palsy

Happy New Year and happy 1st birthday to Not So Terrible Palsy! I cannot believe that I have been blogging for a year and what an amazing year it’s been, I for one did not think that a year on people would still be reading my blog I’m incredibly thankful. So, I thought I would reflect on 2019 and discuss how much of an impact it has had on my future career…

At the start of the year I knew that I wanted to do more with my disability which is why I started my blog, but I did not think that 2019 would be as influential as it has on me. During 2019 I learnt a lot about myself, my disability and of course occupational therapy and in which my views on these three things have all changed as the link is becoming more apparent making me think more about how I want my future to look like. As mentioned one thing that has changed this year is how I see myself as a disabled individual and I feel like during 2019 I realised that not only is my disability a strength but actually my disability is the best part of me and this is all thanks to CP Teens UK. In January 2019 I went to my first social event with CP Teens and it made me realise just how much I’ve been missing out on. I’ve always been a bit hesitant about going to events with other disabled people as when I was younger, I didn’t want to be seen as ‘disabled’. Which I know seems stupid now; that’s how I saw it! However, I had a really great time at bowling and after this event, I was determined not to miss out again.

In February I met Lost Voice Guy at one of his incredible show! It was a brilliant moment for me because when explaining who I was to Lee he replied “I know who you are” this was really important to me as a few weeks before this Lee had also commented on my blog saying that he loved the name and couldn’t wait to read more. At the time my blog had only been around for a month so to get the response was something special.

February was also great for another reason as Tommy was born! Tommy has taught our family so much in which I have mentioned in my previous blogs No Longer Being the Only Disabled Member of the Family and Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month 2019. I can’t believe Tommy’s not even been in our lives for a year, it’s crazy! Tommy, we love you so much, and hats off to Tommy’s Mummy, Amanda for being a great advocate for Down’s Syndrome awareness during 2019 I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store for you.

March, (in case you haven’t realised we’re going to be here a while). For Cerebral Palsy awareness month in 2019, I went all out with 5 posts in a month- I loved it. The challenges Ruby’s Makeup, Cutting the Grass, Attempting to Play Darts and Cooking Dinner were so great I enjoyed doing them (and dragging my whole family into it). They all went down really well I even received messages from people saying how much they loved them and couldn’t wait to read another challenge the following week- I was really taken back by the response I received from these challenges! I hope to bring them back soon!

From the end of March to the beginning of May I learnt a lot about my personal and professional development as I undertook my first occupational therapy placement in paediatrics. I absolutely loved this first placement and was very thankful for the opportunities I got given through this placement, I knew right from the start that I wanted to have a paediatric placement so I feel very lucky that this was my first placement and could see myself working in paediatrics in the future! During my time on placement, I delivered my first ever presentation about my blog and what an amazing experience it was I am truly thankful for this opportunity as without this I wouldn’t have found out about other opportunities such as the CountMeIn conference in June 2020. In which I got asked to be a keynote speaker, I am truly honoured and humbled to have been asked I am very much looking forward to going to this incredible event.

This placement will always be significant to me as my response from my presentation made me realise where I want my career to be heading, in which I discuss in my blog and Why I Study Occupational Therapy. So, thank you to all those who made this placement so significant and I look forward to working with you in 2020!

But of course, May doesn’t end there… I can’t forget about driving!

Yes, we all know because I bored you all to death about it in a super long blog post but in May I finally got my car! Getting my car has to be the highlight of the year as I’d been waiting so long and even now when I’m having driving lessons I’m still in disbelief that I’m where I am.

Looking back May was probably my favourite month of the year, from having the best time on placement to getting my car and of course, let’s not forget about the sponsored wobble with CP Teens…

At the sponsored wobble in May, I brought quite a big crew and we all loved it so much it was one of the best days of the year, my family love this charity so much and will go to great lengths to help raise money for it as long as we can.

Sticking with CP Teens at the end of May I got asked to be an ambassador in which I whole-heartedly said yes to and had my first blog post for them published in June! This has got to be one of my best achievements this year I have been wanting to become an ambassador for CP Teens for a while and I did not think that I would become one in 2019. But here we are 6 months in, and I’m absolutely loving it! CP Teens has been a big part of my life this year and I honestly believe that they have helped me to become the person I am today who isn’t fazed by her disability in the slightest.

In July I enjoyed some time off to really work on Not So Terrible Palsy- due to being a full-time student I can’t dedicate as much time to my blog as I would like so it was nice to have the time to work on it and to finally get it to the way I wanted it to look. As a new blogger, this was my opportunity to get my name out there and so I did and had a story featured on The Mighty and also had a few of my blogs published on The Occupational Therapy Hub.

However, over the summer I did enjoy some time to myself! In August I went on holiday and took my new electric wheelchair with me for the first time which was an experience that I was very nervous about; it turned out to be great, I felt so much more independent- no looking back now, my electric wheelchair best be prepared to face more adventures. As well as catching up with friends over the summer I FINALLY had the pleasure of seeing my favourite artist Ed Sheeran, and what a night this was. I still can’t believe it’s happened I don’t want to sound corny, but it really was a dream come true!

As you can tell I like to be busy, so when September came around and it was time to go back to university, I was so ready!!! I love being back at uni- the course, the people just everything about it. I always get scared that I’ve not picked the right course and that I’m going to fall out with it but being back at university brings back all the warm feelings towards occupational therapy and I know that this is the perfect course for me. I have to thank university for being so supportive of my needs which I mentioned in my blog about Reflecting on My First Year at University. University is also very supportive of my blog and commitments outside of university and makes sure I have everything in place to get this balance right and I am very thankful for this. In fact, in 2020 I have a very exciting placement coming up in which I get to use NSTP as part of it- all will be revealed in February.

October, which means my favourite day of the year! World CP Day!!! I really do love this day so much and this year I decided to do another challenge in which I caught the bus in my wheelchair. Not only this the word was out, I could also finally tell everyone that I was going to be a keynote speaker I was so excited, I always wanted to announce this on World CP day so when I found out that I could I was so happy- perfect timing!

At the end of October through to mid-December, I was on my second occupational therapy placement, this was challenging but such a great experience, I really did learn a lot yet again about my personal and professional development as mentioned in my blog about Transitioning from a Service User to a Healthcare Professional. I’m so lucky to have had two wonderful placement experiences this year!

Of course, let’s not forget about one of the best nights of the year the CP Teens annual ball in November! What an incredible night it was, I will certainly be returning next year!

Once bottle green, always bottle green!

Christmas has been great, and I really have ended the year on a high note with the most beautiful family wedding congratulations Mr and Mrs Shaw!

So 2019…

31 posts on Not So Terrible Palsy.
Had my driving story featured on The Mighty.
Had 2 blogs featured on The Occupational Therapy Hub.
Became an ambassador and have written 4 blogs for CP Teens UK.
Completed 2 placements.
Got asked to be a keynote speaker!

What a year it’s been thank you for all your support I couldn’t have achieved any of this without it. I’m still taken back every time someone leaves a positive comment on my blog and says that they enjoy reading my content. So, as much as this blog is to say thank you for your support it’s also to say thank you for believing in me!

THANK YOU! I can’t wait for what is to come in 2020!

Georgia x
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

What Christmas Means to Me

My initial thought for the last blog post of the year was to reflect on 2019 but seen as NSTP will be turning 1 shortly after Christmas I thought I’d save all the cheesy stuff for one long blog. Therefore, I will try and make this short so apologies if I get carried away…

Christmas means a lot to me as it means that my body can have a rest, and let me tell you this year my body is in need of a rest. If you follow my blog you will know that I have just finished an 8-week placement and although I’ve enjoyed it, placement is both mentally and physically exhausting so, therefore I am looking forward to putting my feet up and watching so festive films.

I know I talk about fatigue a lot in my blogs but managing fatigue is a big part of my disability. In case you haven’t gathered by now I like to push myself and find it hard to say no, so Christmas for me is the time of year where I can do this and just enjoy being with family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I know I find it hard to stop and I still plan to do lots of university work to try and make things easier for myself in the new year, but I can do this at my pace! I’ve learnt something this year and this is to put myself first, during my last placement I barely had a social life and just dedicated my weekends to assignments when in actual fact having a social life is just as important and during this placement, I feel like I got this balance right. So, even though, I plan to do some university work I am not going to let assignments dictate my time off and if I feel that I need a day in my PJ’s in front of the TV that is what I will do. I for one have had a very productive week this week in the run-up to Christmas ensuring everything’s in place for the new year so I am looking forward to taking some me time off.

The most important aspect of Christmas has to be spending time with family and friends and I am really looking forward to spending Christmas with my family and seeing some members of my family that I haven’t seen in a while. My family and I lead a very busy life’s and it’s hard to see each other as often as we would like so, Christmas is our opportunity to do this. I am lucky to come from such a loving and supportive family and it’s great to spend Christmas with some of the most amazing people every year. I enjoy the unexpected days at Christmas in which family pop in to see you and the cheese board ends up coming out- food at Christmas is also very important! I also enjoy going out with friends and undertaking festive activities I have been to a few Christmas markets this year with both my university and school friends. I love going to Christmas markets nothing makes me feel more festive!

Christmas is a time of year that has a different meaning to everyone, and this is what Christmas means to my- enjoying a spending time with family without having any pressure.

As you can tell I love being a social butterfly at Christmas. So, what do you enjoy the most at Christmas?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

Transitioning from a Service User to a Healthcare Professional

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that at the moment, I’m on my level 5 occupational therapy placement. I’ve always said that having the experience of being a service user will help me in my career- some of my lecturers and previous educators have said that my disability is a great tool in this career. However, for me to use my disability as a tool I must get over an emotional barrier first, which, isn’t straight forward and is proving to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be…

Being able to empathise rather than just sympathise with a service user will enable a better therapeutic relationship but, when the understanding is so strong it can be challenging to deal with this emotional response. This is when it becomes harder because feelings can only be dealt with if I’m aware that they’re rising too close to the surface. I’ve always been open that I’ve had occupational therapy input when talking with service users and I always will be; at times the fact that I have had occupational therapy can hold me back during intervention implementation. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am very determined and like to aim high in anything I do especially when it comes to my studies. But this emotional barrier is proving to be more difficult to overcome than I initially thought. I like to consider myself as a confident individual who is up for having a go at anything; this emotional barrier is affecting me in ways that I never thought it would when it comes to intervention implementation and making a professional decision.

I’m coming towards the end of my 8-week placement and I’m not going to lie, I’ve not been as hands-on as I could have been during the first 6 weeks of placement. But it wasn’t until my educator questioned this until I realised why I’d been holding back-the reason I’ve been holding back is that I’m going through an emotional transition. How can I suddenly be the professional and be the one making decisions? Being able to empathise is a great advantage to the service user but in terms of me being a healthcare professional it’s actually a lot more emotionally challenging. Believing in my professional knowledge and being able to make confident professional decisions is difficult. I also feel like I have been holding back due to my speech impairment not because it’s knocks my confidence; because I don’t want to cause more of a challenge for the service users. For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been very quiet on visits and been happy to take a step back and observe but, I’m a second-year student I have to do a lot more than observe to get the grade that I want and achieve my full potential.

Now I have recognised that I am going through this emotional transition it has become a lot clear as to why I’m not my normal confident self when out on visits and I have my educator to thank for this. If it wasn’t for my educator challenging my mindset I don’t think I would have realised that this mindset was the reason why I was holding back and the only way to challenge this mindset is to be thrown out of my comfort zone and take lead during a visit. In which I and my educator have been working on and since we unpicked this during supervision, I have been more hands-on during visits and managed to take the lead on a visit. However, this is a slow process and my confidence isn’t going to come overnight but I feel like I am making a start and working towards this.

My educator and other members of the team have been really understanding of this emotional transition and are aware that this process is not happening at a fast pace. But they have given me and continue to give me a lot of support around this and I believe that everything happens for a reason because without this support this transition would be a lot harder. Therefore, supervision is key, placement is a massive learning opportunity but for me, it enables me to make more sense of my situation and gain insight into what my limitations are going to be in the world of work.

I’m going to have physical limitations when I’m working but how do I know what these physical limitations are going to be until I experience this first-hand on placement? I thought that my physical limitations and speech impairment were always going to be a barrier on placement but they’re provisions that can be put into place, for example, I’m going to try an app that helps me make phone calls. I’ll never know until I try and put myself in these uncomfortable positions. I’ve had this mindset in everything else I’ve been involved in for the last 19 years, so why should I should I let placement be any different?

It’s hard to admit emotional vulnerability but once this is achieved the hard part is over!

If you used to be a service user and are now a healthcare professional how did you conquer this emotional transition?

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

CP Teens Annual Charity Ball

I finally went to the CP Teens annual charity ball, I’m aware that I am late to the party but better late than never, right? From the beginning of this year, I have been a lot more involved with CP Teens UK, I love this charity so much and have already had some amazing experiences just from being involved with them this year so I was so excited to go to the ball. I did contemplate going to the ball last year but, I didn’t really know anyone that much and I’m glad that this year was my first year as I’d already met a few people that were going to be there. It’s amazing how close I’ve grown to the people at CP Teens since January and even though I’ve only met everyone a few times I have formed really closed relationships and am in contact with a lot of friends I’ve made at CP Teens regularly.

I got my tickets for the ball back in March and had been looking forward to it ever since March, but the 2 months run-up to the ball was very exciting. Me and my friend who I was taking Sophie, had started to think about dresses at this point and it was all getting just that bit more exciting. Not only this, I suppose I can be quite a glamour’s girl when I want to be (which you wouldn’t say if you’d seen me at work with my hair half hanging out of my ponytail) so, with this in mind I’d booked to have my hair and my makeup doing which made this day even more exciting.

The day had finally arrived I was beyond excited and had, had a tiring a week at work so I was ready to have a good night…

I really had the best day as well as the best night as mentioned, I don’t really get pampered very often and due to a few personal events I had been feeling quite low and tired during the lead up to the ball so a pamper day was what I needed. I must admit when I was made up, I did feel very elegant and I and elegant don’t really go together due to my clumsiness, so it was good to feel different for one night!

Thank you to all those who helped me to get ready because if it was down to me I would have looked very different!

I arrived at the ball and immediately started talking to my friends that I’d already met and friends that I’d been talking to online for a while so it was great to catch up with people not just about disability but just about life because we all have way more in common than cerebral palsy.

It was a great night spending time getting to know people I’d never met before- a topic that came up on our table was driving and we all know I have a thing or two to say about that! We danced a lot and just had fun I wore heels, so my dancing wasn’t on point (when is it ever), but I didn’t fall and wasn’t in much pain the day after, so I’d call this a success! I’ve only met all these people above this year yet, I have so much time for them the ball was always going to be fun but spending it with friends just makes it even more worthwhile!

This purpose of this blog was to inform those of you who are not aware of the amazing charity that is CP Teens UK but I also wanted to mention someone who is very special to me…

This is my dear friend Sophie who came along with me to the ball. Going along with Sophie just made this night even more special and being able to share this night with Sophie meant a lot. So, Soph, thank you for coming along with me and for always be there for me and coming along to CP Teens events like the sponsored wobble. Previously CP Teens posted a photo of Sophie, her sister and me with this caption…

Ignore my face I look very excited for some reason!

This picture sums us up perfectly and I couldn’t think of a better caption! Once again thank you for everything you do Soph and for giving up your weekend to come party with me with the CP Teens crew!

Thank you for reading,
Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

OT Week 2019: Small Change Big Impact

Happy OT week 2019! This week many occupational therapists have been sharing their stories through the Royal College of Occupational Therapists and social media to spread awareness about a small change they’ve made and how much of a big impact this has had on a service user. I sit here writing this blog on day 2 of OT week and I am already loving reading the stories that keep cropping up on my social media. So, this got me thinking… even though I haven’t particularly made a big impact on a service user as I am only on my second placement my OT’s have certainly made a big impact on me as without them I wouldn’t be studying OT today and this blog probably wouldn’t exist. Therefore, I thought I’d share some of the small changes that have been made in my life that have had a big impact on me enabling me to carry out more activities of daily living independently.

Let’s start with my favourite Dycem! For me, Dycem is one of the greatest inventions and at times is an utter lifesaver, I mainly use Dycem to put under my dinner plate and drink to enable me to keep them in the correct position, it’s fair to say that without this I would be chasing them around the table! Over the years I have gotten better at not being so heavy-handed when eating and when I’m out and haven’t got a piece of Dycem on me I certainly find it a lot easier than I used to, but I can still tell. When I was younger and had less control over my fine motor skill’s I used Dycem for a lot such as writing and drawing in school, Dycem has had a big impact on me and has enabled my independence.

Plate guard! Like Dycem my plate guard (or ring as I call it) has been a useful weapon and has saved me many of times from having a few embarrassing moments at the dinner table. This acts as an aid to help me get hold of my food- I push my cutlery against my this to enable me to get the food. My plate guard is also useful whenever I’m having something like bake beans or a roast dinner covered in gravy as this stops the liquid from spilling over the edge of the plate. I feel like whenever I’m out and having a roast dinner I miss my plate guard as food fly’s everywhere- it’s not a pretty sight!

My bath board has certainly made a big impact! Being able to get in and out of the bath independently is wonderful because now when I have a bath, I can go in the bathroom completely alone and no one else needs to be around to help me get in and out. I feel like since having my bath board I have used the bath a lot more because now I don’t need to depend on anyone.

My shower seat has yet again just like my bath board has made a very big impact, before I could never just get in the shower whenever I wanted, because someone always had to be around but now I have my seat I can just shower when I please and take as long as I want (I love a shower on the temperature of the sun setting). Before I used to fall in the shower, I’ve always used a non-slip mat but still at times I would trip over the mat. I remember the first time I used my shower seat I was beaming with independence and didn’t put my non-slip mat down thinking that I wouldn’t need it anymore and then when I stood up to turn the shower off I fell over so now I always put the non-slip matt underneath! In terms of my independence, I think my shower seat has offered me the most out of everything and I’d certainly be lost without it.

As you can see all this equipment I use has certainly had a big impact on my life in terms of promoting my independence and activities daily living and I owe my OT’s a huge thank you for all the support that I have had throughout my life and not just in terms of equipment. So, this blog is dedicated to all the lovely OT’s I’ve had as without them I wouldn’t be here!

Happy OT week 2019!

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

Diabetes Awareness Month 2019

It’s November, which is diabetes awareness month, which means that I finally get to introduce you to my mum. My mum has type 1 diabetes which has a massive impact on her life just like any disability, yet she still carries on and is a huge inspiration to us all. I know that that word is used too often and I don’t want to be that person who calls someone inspirational for just carrying out day to day activities but when you have your own needs and own appointments and also have to deal with a child with demanding needs you deserve some credit.

Mum has diabetes as part of having an auto-immune disease which means she gets very poorly very easily resulting in fatigue. Meaning that we have a lot in common, even though cerebral palsy and diabetes are very different, and fatigue will be caused in different ways we can still relate. This forms a big part of me my mums relationship because we all have bad days when our disability gets the better of us and I’m human- if it’s been a bad day fatigue wise I complain to any member of my household but being able to talk my mum is special because when I say I’m fatigue she gets it. Although I know that mum suffers a lot I am weirdly extremely thankful that I have someone so close that understands, just that little bit more than the rest! As small as it sounds it’s great because we usually go for our flu jabs together which to someone else may not seem a big deal but it’s nice to think that the morning after the flu jab when I’m moaning about my achy arm my mum understands my pain.

But it’s not just our similarities the make our relationship special it is out differences… Even though elements of our disabilities are similar we also understand that we can never fully know one an other’s needs. This is something that we often talk about, in which this helps our relationship as we can then have respect for one another.

I often worry about becoming diabetic myself as it’s on both sides of my family which means the chances of me developing it at some stage are higher. You’re probably thinking that if I was going to develop the condition, I would have already got it but mum was diagnosed at 42 so this means there’s still a chance. I worry about having diabetes because I often think that diabetes and cerebral palsy would be too much, I mean I would have to have the pump for sure… let’s not talk about me injecting. But even though I worry I look at my mum and just see how she handles it so amazingly well especially whilst juggling her other conditions. I guess I’ll always have some worries about how I would handle diabetes if I ever get it. But it doesn’t eat away at me because how can I let it when I’ve had the best teacher and role model?

When I wanted to walk at the CP Teens sponsored wobble!

Life must have been a juggling act when I was younger and was more dependent on her, and I guess in some ways it still is as I might not be as dependent on her but I’m still not totally independent. Yet, this teaches us more so to just make the most of life and enjoy it. It’s fair to say that my family probably faces more challenges than the ‘ordinary family’ but you know what that’s okay because without these challenges we wouldn’t have these significant bonds. My mum has been there through every appointment and still is, she text’s me most dinner times to check up on me, I always text back to check up on her too and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Happy diabetes awareness month 2019 mum, thank you for everything you do and continue to do for me despite facing your own health battles on a daily basis. I know you don’t do social media and don’t let many people share photos of you never mind dedicating a whole blog post but, you deserve this recognition because I wouldn’t be writing this blog today if it wasn’t for you! Oh, let’s add some cheese… I love you mum I know you’ll always support my needs, and I’ll always support yours.

Happy diabetes awareness month 2019 everyone, please raise awareness!

Georgia
@georgia4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

How Cerebral Palsy Affects Me During Illness

This week I have been a bit poorly and I think it’s fair to say that I certainly have the ‘it’s autumn- welcome to the colder months cold. Everyone has a cold as unfortunately, it’s cold and flu season, however, having CP means that when I become ill it’s affects me a lot more in terms of fatigue and energy levels. So, I thought I’d share what I do to ensure that my body gets the rest it needs during a period of illness to ensure that when I’m well again I am not just well again but I am on top form!

1. Putting my own needs first!

Old mug!

Putting my needs first should be a given but when I have other things going on such as university deadlines it’s not that simple. I’ve been lucky this week in the sense that I’ve had 2 days off and not a massive workload but next week I’m on placement so if I’m still ill I will find it a lot harder to say ”I’m going to bed” when I get home knowing that I have a reflection to write. But going to bed is just as useful, self-care is vital and is, if not more important than that assignment! On a good day, it’s takes me twice as long to do a piece of work than it perhaps would an average person. So what good is it wasting more of the little energy I do have on a small amount of work that probably won’t be up to my standards anyway? So, I might as well top up my energy levels so I can have more of a productive session the next day!

2. Prioritising

Photo by Breakingpic on Pexels.com

In my opinion putting my needs first is crucial and a good way to do this is by prioritising. I make a to-do list most weeks, but I find that when I’m poorly they come in useful, this is because as crucial as putting my needs first is, it can be stressful when I’m poorly around deadlines. So I feel like writing down a to-do list and prioritising what needs to do helps to take the pressure off, when I’m poorly and stressed it’s easy to get myself in a tangle but writing down what I need to do it really helps me to relax. For example on Wednesday, I didn’t feel great however, I was worried that I was going to waste my day off because of being ill, so I wrote down my to-do list, which made things clear and actually made me realise that I didn’t need to do that much work at that moment in time. I just did the tasks that needed doing for Thursday and then spent the rest of the afternoon regaining some energy.

3. Remaining positive

When I feel rubbish and must carry on when all I want to do is curl up in a ball it can be very frustrating! However, remaining positive about my situation certainly helps, the reasoning behind this blog is to make people aware that having a cold affects me a lot more; it’s only a cold and yes I have to be careful and not to push myself (which I’m known for) but I’m not in no means going to be the most unwell I’ve ever been or ever will be from a cold. Remaining positive is easier said than done and don’t get me wrong I love a good moan too; realising that my situation could be worse helps me to put a smile on and get through the rest of the day. However, it’s also important to admit when I’m not okay and when I’ve had a rubbish day, like I said I’m human, I’ll feel sorry for myself for an hour or 2 but I always think there’s someone out there having a worse day…

What are your tips to get through the cold and flu months?

Thank you for reading,

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT

World Cerebral Palsy Day 2019- Catching the Bus

HELLO AND HAPPY WORLD CP DAY 2019!!! As some of you may know World Cerebral Palsy day is my favourite day of the year, and I am so excited to finally share with you what I’ve been up to for World CP Day 2019! I cannot express how overwhelmed I have been by the response from my friends and family on previous World CP day’s, my social media has just been filled with the most amazing messages and if it wasn’t for these messages I wouldn’t have got such amazing memories to look back on. However, this only makes it harder, to be creative and try to top previous years. I highly doubt that my challenge this year will go the same way as my piano video did last year (as that was one crazy weekend) but a challenged is what you lovely people asked for so a challenge is what you got!

So if you haven’t gathered from my title this year I was challenged to catch the bus in my wheelchair- which if you’ve read my previous blog on restricted independence you will know that this is rather daunting for me, and gives me great anxiety.

Not only was I anxious the occupational therapist in me was overthinking everything- which in this case didn’t help! As part of my first year, we had to give a presentation of all the skills used in a particular activity and the activity I did was getting on the bus- if I’d have known that I was going to do this challenge I probably would have picked a different activity! But despite my brain going into overdrive my Auntie had set me this challenge and I was not going to let her down!

With my nerves in mind, we had a plan! My friend and I would go out on the bus to a local retail park, on the way there my friend helped me but, on the way back, I had to catch the bus independently without a word from my friend! Don’t get me wrong this challenge would have been a lot better if I could say to you that I did it entirely on my own but I didn’t. One of the reasons I didn’t despite my anxiety is that my friend said ”If I wouldn’t have been here what would be different?”… After thinking about this question, I answered ”Well, nothing.” She had made me realised that if I’d have wanted to I could have done it and I did do it on the way back as whilst getting on the bus my friend didn’t say a word to the bus driver I did it all alone in which she said ”Challenge complete.” and the challenge was complete and once I was on that bus I felt absolutely fine!

From this challenge, I certainly feel a whole lot better about getting on the bus, because it isn’t as scary as I think. Will I be using the bus a lot more? Probably not. If the bus was my only option, would I feel a lot better getting on it? Certainly! This is all that matters!

I love World CP Day so much because to me it means a great deal, Cerebral Palsy is such a board term and it’s hard to know how CP affects an individual unless you are close to that individual, therefore, World CP Day allows me to spread awareness and educate individuals on what this disability entails. Each year I want to do something different whether this is a challenge, piano video or just a blog talking about something I don’t normally talk about because I want to continue to raise awareness so people can understand that my disability, just like all disabilities, is so much more than what people see!

Happy World CP Day 2019!

Georgia
@georgiavine4213
@GeorgiaVineOT