Life as a Cerebral Palsy student
26 January 2017
Meet Level 4 Psychology and Child Development student Chloe Tear. Chloe was born with mild cerebral palsy affecting her legs and left arm; her experience inspiring her to create her blog – Life as a Cerebral Palsy student
. In the three years since starting her blog Chloe has appeared on BBC Radio Leeds, become the Head Ambassador for CP Teens UK
, and won multiple awards.
We asked Chloe to talk about her experience as a student with cerebral palsy, her reasons for creating her blog, and the inspirational journey she's been on in recent years.
Over to Chloe:
I started writing, my blog, known as 'life as a Cerebral Palsy student' back in 2013, and since then it has gained 27,000 views from around the world. One reason why I started the blog was that although people made a big effort to understand what cerebral palsy was, it was often hard to explain it beyond its medical definition. I am aware that unless you have CP then you are not going to fully 'get it', yet I knew that people's understanding could be expanded. When I was younger I knew very few others who also had CP, and at times this was isolating. I set up my blog in the hope of connecting with other young people who had CP, creating the long lasting friendships and connections that I now have.
Coming to university has had positive impacts on my writing, giving me more things to write about with all the new experiences, as well as getting to know new people. The first ever post on my blog ended with "who knows what the future holds" and what a journey it has been since then. Although university is very busy, I feel that I actually have had more time to write since September and have had carried on gaining more contacts, expanding my audience. Since the start of the semester I have also written for the student magazine, which has been a great experience - I promise I will post again soon!
The aim of the blog was to help others in similar situations and educate people who knew nothing about what I was facing, but I also started it for myself. It can be a lot to take in at times, things are constantly changing and secondary conditions appear more frequently then I would like. The blog lets me figure everything out!
Yet this is why I am so overwhelmed at the awards and recognition that I have gained because of 'Life as a Cerebral Palsy student'. It all started last May when I received an award for my contributions from my local council. I was so shocked, out of everyone - they chose me! The day before moving to university I attended the National Diversity Awards ceremony, making the final shortlist for 'Positive Role Model within Disability' and being the youngest person in my category, this was astonishing. Then in November, I had the pleasure of travelling down to London to receive a Kids Count inspiration award - I even got a tour of the House of Commons!
In 2017 I have absolutely no expectations. What I have achieved over the last few years has exceeded my hopes and dreams for a lifetime. I hope to work even more with the amazing organisation that is CP Teens UK and expand my blog as far as I can. What I do know is that I will take every opportunity that I am given and continue to raise more awareness as it is something I have a great deal of passion for and thoroughly enjoy.