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!


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,


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,

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,


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!


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,


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!


Down’s Syndrome Awareness Month 2019!

October is Down’s Syndrome awareness month which gives me a reason to do another post on how adorable Tommy is. A few months ago I did a post about Tommy and my feelings towards no longer being the only disabled member of the family. However, that post was 4 months ago now and Tommy is now 7 months old so since then he has taught me an awful lot about what being a cousin means. I am very close to my family and we are always in regular contact- to be fair I would say that me and my cousins are a lot closer than most. I am very fortunate to be so close to my cousins and am thankful for their help as just like I’ve said about my sister sometimes even with my younger cousins I still feel like I am the one being looked after. I’m the one who has to grab on to their arm and I’m the one who asks them to carry my drink. As I’ve said time and time before this is fine I’m used, to it I’m not going to have a break down about it anytime soon; when a younger cousin asks you to help them and you have to redirect them to their other cousin, that’s also younger than you it can be a bit disheartening even if it’s something small like carrying their drink.

But with Tommy it’s completely different… Yes, I’ll never be the go-to cousin for practical elements and I can’t pick him up and bounce him; I can offer Tommy something that no other cousins can because I have a sense of understanding and that will always make our relationship special (even if he wriggles too much to sit on my knee). Even though Cerebral Palsy and Down’s Syndrome are completely different conditions Tommy and I have similarities and can understand each other in a way that no other family member can. Just like my parents have a new connection with Tommy’s parents because they understand what it’s like to have a child with needs. Since Tommy has been in our lives he has taught us so much and has enabled us to be closer as a family especially Amanda and me. This is because we now have something in common that we never thought we’d have in common and I must admit sharing experiences of disabled activism with a close family member is a very good feeling. I feel like I have taken on two roles one of them being the best big cousin to Tommy and the other one being the best little cousin to Amanda!

Amanda always keeps me updated on Tommy’s latest appointments- I love hearing about how he is getting on as I said sometime’s I can’t give advice but sometimes I can and even though my experiences aren’t the same as Tommy’s at times they are similar. An example being that me and Tommy both do physio and even though Tommy’s physio is different to mine me and Amanda still send ‘physio selfies’ and can still talk about it, mine and Tommy’s physio needs are different but we both have physio needs and that forms part of our special bond. I also relate to Tommy from an occupational therapist perspective- I have always said that I could see myself working in paediatrics’ so being able to listen to Tommy’s experiences just inspires me to become a paediatric occupational therapist even more because I want to help Tommy and understand his needs in the best way possible. I do feel like I have a better understanding of Tommy’s needs and the reasons for his therapy interventions such as ‘tummy time’ even though I’m only a year into my degree.

But, despite having this bond with Tommy- I love him for being Tommy and yes we would have had a different bond if I wasn’t disabled but I still would have loved him the same. Just because I understand his situations a bit better than other family members doesn’t mean I’m an expert on Down’s Syndrome either because I still have a lot of learning to do. Does it help me that I’ve had a seminar on it? Of course, but my own learning on Down’s Syndrome has just started, and this is what Down’s Syndrome awareness month means to me. Down’s Syndrome awareness month is an opportunity for me to learn more Down’s Syndrome and to learn more about Tommy. Yet, this blog is a start because when I’m writing about Tommy I learn so much about our relationship and the steps I need to take to keep building our relationship in which I and Tommy can always look back on to remember how significant our bond was even just 7 months in to his life.

Thank you for reading. Please share and spread awareness about Down’s Syndrome!


The Hidden Elements of My Disability

A few months ago I wrote a blog post on How My Physical Disability Can Be Perceived in which I kind of defended myself in saying I’m not always as complicated as I seem. I’ve mentioned on multiple occasions that I don’t like the fact that when I say I did maths at college people assume I had to redo my GCSE’s, but on the other hand this doesn’t mean that my physical needs aren’t demanding because at times they are. I’m not writing this blog post to write a list of my needs and tell you what I can and can’t do, because let’s face it that’s a bit boring and a bit too much information. However, I want to give you a few examples of how not everything is as it seems…

For example, take my profile picture- on this day I was going to a party (I’m aware I need a much more professional picture hopefully I’ll have a new one soon) so, I have my hair done and my make-up on. Everything looks ordinary, yeah? It is ordinary but I didn’t do my hair or my make-up, my sister did. I’m not saying the sole reason why she did my hair and make-up is that I couldn’t have done it because I can, it just wouldn’t have been as good. I understand, that I’m not an artistic person and I’m not saying that without CP I would be a hairdresser or a make-up artist, but this would certainly be easier. So, why am I tell you something I’ve already told you before? This is because on this night people at the party who didn’t know me and was sat at the other side of the room probably just thought that I was an ordinary individual with no complexities. This isn’t a problem, I am an ordinary individual and I do want to be treated the same but, at the same time, I wish that people could just see how much effort it’s taken me and my sister to get my sat there looking how I wanted to look.

Another example is when I’m sat in a restaurant eating with friends or family, to other people around me I’m just enjoying a meal. Which I am (I always enjoy food); the people around us won’t know that whoever I’m with has had to cut up my meal or that I’ve ordered a burger because it’s a lot easier for me to eat. Whenever I go to university or placement I always make sure I look respectable; people don’t realise how much effort goes into me looking respectable for example when I’m on placement I have to have my hair tied back which again means that my sister or mum has probably done it. I love fancy tops it’s very rare you’ll catch me in a plain t-shirt, in which I might have a top that buttons up, meaning that someone has helped me that morning to button it up.

I don’t mind that I need help in these situations because I’ve never known any different and I have got more independent at doing tasks like my hair and my make-up over the years; I know that I’m always going to struggle with buttons. Which is fine I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but if people knew how much effort these daily tasks take me then I feel people would understand my complexities a lot more. For example, in the winter I go to university I have a cold- so what it’s winter everyone’s got cold, I’ll put a brave face on and not complain. But it affects me so much more in terms of fatigue and puts me at the risk of potentially having a seizure and even though I may not complain at university I’ll come home have dinner and go straight to bed because I’ll be too tired to do any other work. I’m not saying that an able-bodied person doesn’t also do this, but it’ll be a lot easier for them to push themselves than it will me because that work may only take them 30 minutes but for me, it’ll take an hour.

I’m not writing this blog to tell you how complicated my life is and to be negative, I’m writing this blog to explain to you how many elements of my disability are hidden. When I went to Berlin with college, my friends said that they didn’t realise how much I depended on someone because when I’m at college and university I don’t need to depend on someone as much because plans have already been put into place; when I get home and I need someone to cut up my dinner and bring me a drink upstairs so I can wind down and watch TV whilst drinking a tea. It’s fine that these parts are hidden we all have private aspects of our life’s disability or not but my hidden aspects hide a lot about my disability and I just feel like if more people knew this my needs would be a lot more clear and I wouldn’t have to explain why I’m not going out that night even though I may only have a sniffle. I’m not saying that people wouldn’t help either; at times situations occur where I don’t feel like explaining and telling everyone about the private aspects of my life.

Thank you reading,


Maintaining Braces with Cerebral Palsy

Hello as if we’re in September already! I decided that this week I would do my first throwback post, to my younger years, as I haven’t really talked about my childhood that much therefore, I thought I would start by telling you all about my braces. I’ve decided to tell you about my braces because this was a difficult period of my life- anyone who has had braces knows that they can be difficult at times, but when you add CP into the mix the level of difficulty increases.

So, the background story… Anyone who knows me knows that I never do simple and my situation with my braces wasn’t simple, to say the least as, more or less straight after I’d had my initial appointment to see if I needed braces I had my braces put on as I was classed as an “emergency case”! I was classed as an emergency case as my last tooth that was coming through wasn’t coming through in the correct position and it was, in fact, damaging my nerve. This meant that after I had my braces put on I had to have an operation to remove my last baby tooth and two more teeth (as my mouth was too small for all my teeth), then I had a gold chain put in to bring the tooth that was damaging my nerve down slowly into the correct position. Already this process was a lot complicated than anticipated I remember when I got told all this information and I come out of the room and turned to my mum and just said ‘Why me?’. I just felt like my life was complicated enough without this- which looking back is rather selfish of me, but my 13-year-old self didn’t have the same outlook on disability as I do now.

Having to wear braces never got me down; looking back now I probably would be able to take my situation on board a lot better. However, this still doesn’t mean that physically I would have found it easier because physically maintaining my braces caused a lot of issues. Due to my situation being complex I had to get my braces tightened more often meaning that I was in pain most of the time. It was also very hard to keep them clean independently, due to my CP I don’t have a lot of control over my mouth and tongue so when food gets stuck in my gum I must physically go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. Meaning that if this happened when eating in a restaurant it would leave me feeling a bit embarrassed, over the years (as this happens regardless of braces) I have developed techniques to subtly resolve the situation in my own way without people knowing. But, with braces, most issues were caused due to my lack of control; like I said my control with eating still causes me a lot of issues today but this is a whole other blog post and to be honest is probably something I’m not quite ready to be 100% open about.

I was very keen on making sure that my braces were always clean and I always did what the orthodontist told me but as said it was hard to do this independently and my parents did have to intervene a lot more than I would have liked. However, I did get into a routine. Overall, I had my braces on for 20 months, so I did get better and become more independent towards the end!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Elastic bands are common with braces; in my case, they lasted 2 weeks before I had to call the emergency orthodontist on a bank holiday weekend! I’d struggled with the bands and was cautious that I’d end up doing damage, but I didn’t think I could somehow break the bar at the roof of my mouth and cause it to stick into my tongue. Let’s just say, I never wore elastic bands again after that incident.

As you can see having braces wasn’t the easiest 20 months of my life; I am happy with my teeth now, still annoying that this was all because of one tooth but it taught me a lot. It taught me that not every thing’s as easy as it looks at first however practice makes perfect (a clichè, I know) but, it’s true! Yeah, this was a very frustrating period and it would have been a lot easier if this situation wouldn’t have occurred but that’s life, unfortunately, this isn’t the first frustrating situation to occur and it won’t be the last. So, I might as well reflect on it and look at what’s it’s taught me rather than focusing the negatives, this situation is never ideal even for an able-bodied person, but worse things happen!

Thank you for reading,