Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month 2020, March 21st
Georgia is 20-years-old and has Spastic Diaplegic Cerebral Palsy with Ataxic and Dystonic elements. Georgia's Cerebral Palsy affects all 4 of her limbs, her pelvis, her trunk and her head control as well as her speech causing dysarthria. Both of Georgia's fine and gross motor skills are affected and she cannot walk far without experiencing fatigue meaning that she uses a wheelchair.
Georgia is currently studying Occupational Therapy at University. Georgia says, "I chose this because my OT had a big impact on me and if I can just make even half the impact they made on me, it'll be worthwhile".
Georgia doesn't like it when people make assumptions about her disability. She says that as a result of her speech impairment, people often assume that she has a learning disability and can therefore patronise her. An example of this is when Georgia took A Level Maths - people automatically assumed she was resitting her GCSE Maths.
Another assumption that Georgia experiences is when people assume that she is drunk when on a night out. Georgia says that she finds this very frustrating and that she has often had to discuss her needs with bouncers just to gain entry to night clubs as well as ensuring she carries her Access Card with her to prove that she's not drunk.
Having a social life and spending time with family & friends is extremely important to Georgia. She says, "I'm passionate about OT and I'm fully dedicated to my studies, however I'm a big believer in a work. There are many more things in my life that I love and that I want to invest my time in, and my family & friends are a big one".
If Georgia could change one thing for other young people with physical disabilities it would be the correct and incorrect disability related terminology. Georgia says, "For example, a lot of people say to me 'I don't see you as disabled' and this comment annoys me because I feel like as if people don't see my disability then they're missing a big part of me".
In her free time, you will find Georgia blogging - she has her own blog, 'Not So Terrible Palsy'. Georgia says, "I like blogging about my disability and OT as the online community has played a major role in helping me to accept my disability".
In the future, Georgia hopes to graduate from University and continue to climb the OT career ladder. Georgia also hopes to be more independent and confident in her ability to be able to get a train independently to visit friends. She says, "I also would like to explore the world with a significant other one day I’m in no rush to find my significant other, but I’d like to think that I don’t have a long wait ahead. I mean who else is going to be there when I tackle the Eiffel Tower?!"
Georgia says, "Seek every opportunity that comes your way. However, if something is too much don’t be afraid to turn it down and seek a little extra support. Saying no can be hard but putting your needs first is always the best solution."