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I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now – Living with Cerebral Palsy As a Young Adult

Hi, my name is Liv, I work with TCT as part of their admin team, and I have Cerebral Palsy. But I don’t let it stop me.

When I was very young, I had no idea of the affects that my Cerebral Palsy was having on mine or my parents’ day-to-day life, only that I wasn’t going to be able to go to ballet lessons because they clashed with my physiotherapy appointments. Telling a six-year-old girl this did not go down too well. As I grew and went to middle school, I began to understand a more about Cerebral Palsy, and also about people’s thoughts and opinions of disability.

I am lucky enough to say that no one was ever unkind to me at school, but equally, the words ‘won’t’ or ‘can’t’ were often used when it came to talking about my future. ‘She can’t join in PE, so we will have to play Boccia’ or ‘Liv probably won’t go to university and get a degree.’ As a teenager, this frustrated me because I thought to myself ‘why can’t I consider university?’ and ‘No, I do not want to play boccia, it’s boring!’ I also began to realise that as my peers were dreaming of becoming doctors, scientist or athletes, my dreams of a career seemed very limited to the professional roles that I had come to know because of Cerebral Palsy. The young Liv did not want to become a teaching assistant, but that seemed like one of the only ways to go.

Fast forward a few years, completing A Levels, going to university, and getting a degree taught me a lot, and most of this was about how different disability is in the adult world compared to when you are young. You can achieve the things that you want to, because there are so many ways to accomplish them.

I had extra support at university, but nothing that was obvious to other students, which made me feel like any other person who went to university. Something that had never happened before. I then looked forward to getting into work, and soon realised that my options weren’t as limited as I thought.

I have been a waitress, a student support within an upper school, worked in the HR Department of Bournemouth Hospital and am now an ‘admin queen’ within TCT. So not any of the roles that as a child I thought I would be limited to. The world of work isn’t easy with a disability, but it is without doubt possible to follow your dreams into the industry you love. The working environment has become so much better at adapting to all, and I believe that this will only improve.

So this is what I wish I’d known as that six year old girl: all of the achievements of other children and teenagers will be possible, you might just achieve them a little differently. You will meet a lot of people in the future who are kind, and will support you in your decisions, including not to play Boccia. And above all, being a ballet dancer isn’t as exciting as it sounds, there are plenty of other amazing opportunities that you can get stuck into and love just as much.

At times Liv works at the practice, covering clinics and supporting the therapists. At other times she works at our off-site office and helps with the clerical side of TCT.

Liv’s positive attitude make her a fantastic addition to the team.

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