Being accepted as someone living with CP
April 16th, 2021
By Cameron Wood
In recent months I have felt accepted as someone living with Cerebral Palsy and that is thanks to CP Teens UK.
I have started to engage with the events that this awesome charity run and those events have included the 'No Bangs Bonfire Night' and the CP Teens UK Virtual Pizza Night.
These virtual events have made me feel accepted for who I am as it is not easy to find friends if you are in a wheelchair or have a disability.
At the age of 24, I don’t really feel like a teenager anyone however I have been made to feel very welcome by the CP Teens UK family.
I am excited to be a part of the charity's next virtual event in just a few weeks time as it will again give me the chance to feel accepted.
I think that it is important that young people with disabilities, especially Cerebral Palsy, feel that they are accepted by all for just being them.
Over the last couple of years, I have been working hard to ensure that all young people who have a disability are heard if they live in my home town.
I have been able to achieve this aim by working with local disabled young people to find out what it is they actually need/want to make their lives better.
I believe that the work of Ellie and the team at CP Teens UK does ensure that children and young people with Cerebral Palsy are given the opportunity to engage with other young people like them.
I have been proud to engage with their events during the coronavirus pandemic as this has helped me to keep on top of my mental health.
When the pandemic began I stopped venturing out in order to keep myself safe from the virus so relied on the events that Ellie and her team put on to engage with the outside world all be it via social media.
I will be turning 25 later this year and will then continue to keep up to date with the work that this incredible charity do.
Having Cerebral Palsy does in some cases limited what you can do and I am delighted that CP Teens UK support young people to live an as normal life as possible.
I wish that there had been charity of this nature when I was growing up because they would have given me the opportunity to engage with other young people like me.
I have found other friends with the condition via social media and the college that I went to where I was able to meet other young people who are like me.
I hope that children and young people living with CP feel that they are represented by charities/organisations like Ellie’s amazing charity.
It has been awesome to see so many children and young people living with the condition engaging with the work of this national charity.
I would encourage all children and young people who are living with the condition during these very uncertain times to engage with the events that CP Teens UK run.
My advice for 'CP Teens' in lockdown
January 13th, 2021
By Melissa Cassidy
Lockdown has been a really challenging time for everyone but I think it’s safe to say that when you’re disabled and stuck in the house all day, it can be challenging to keep busy and not get down and bored. As a 15 year old who is usually one of the busiest people you’ll ever meet I’ve found it difficult to keep myself positive and motivated during lockdown so I’ve come up with 10 tips on staying healthy and happy during lockdown.
Have a routine
I know many people will have online schooling or work but I think along with that it’s really helpful to have a handful of things that you do every day. It doesn’t have to be anything major but even just giving yourself small tasks to do daily like cleaning your room or even just reading a book can make it real difference to how you feel that day.
It’s obviously important for everyone regardless of disability to look after themselves but I think as a disabled person, sometimes it’s difficult to remember that you deserve to look after yourself just as much as anyone else. I know it’s difficult sometimes to do some of the more mainstream acts of self care like having a bath or painting your nails but it’s important to remember that self care is more than that. For example, putting on you’re favourite outfit just because you can, putting on your favourite perfume or after shave, or even just taking extra time when you wash your face to really clean your skin.
So, this one seems pretty obvious because I feel like everyone has been talking about keeping fit and online exercise classes but I think that as a disabled person, you need to be mindful of what you’re doing and how much you’re doing because you don’t want to end up getting too tired out or just not being able to do some of the exercises. My advice for this is that you should just try and do what you’re comfortable with. It’s great to try new exercise classes on YouTube but it’s also totally fine if you try one and can’t manage it. I know some of the people reading this will be full time wheelchair users which definitely makes it more challenging to find things suitable for that. I’m aware that Joe Wix has done some exercise videos for “elderly people” which are all sitting down exercises so despite the name, I think that could be really helpful. Also just doing some physical therapy exercises is really good, especially if you maybe didn’t have time to do them before.
I’d say one of the most important things to keep you both physically and mentally healthy is making sure that you’re getting enough fresh air. Going out for walks or going out in your wheelchair can really clear your head and helps a lot if you’re feeling anxious about lockdown. Even on days where you don’t feel like going out, opening a window or spending time in your garden can really make a difference.
I think it’s very important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically and meditating is a great way to look after your mental health. When I say meditation I think that you can take that in a few different ways. For example, some people might like to do a proper guided meditation but not everyone likes that. Meditation can be whatever you need to do to relax and clear your mind. I think it’s just important that you take a moment to just forget about the pandemic and whatever’s stressing you out and just breathe and be calm.
Communication is so important right now, and it can be really challenging to try and keep in touch with friends and family but I think that everyone needs to just make a real effort to not loose touch with the people around them. It’s also important that we still try and create new friendships as well through things like CP teens, or Social media, or even just reading and interacting with blogs like this one. Talking to people and being open is so beneficial because it helps you and the person you’re talking to.
Sometimes being stuck at home can be really boring, even if you have a good routine, it’s hard not to get tired of life and burned out. I think a good way to keep yourself entertained and to keep your brain working is to start a project. For example, I recently started my own blog and I’ve been working on that which has really helped me stay motivated to do things and work on myself but there are so many other types of projects you could start like writing a story or painting or learning how to do something you’ve always wanted to do. You could even have projects as simple as clearing out your wardrobe or gardening. It’s just something that will be exciting for you to do and motivate you through this time.
Work on your own independence
Lockdown is a great time for disabled people to start working towards practical goals. Recently in lockdown I’ve been trying to learn how to cook, which is something I’ve always wanted to do and needed to learn for later in life but because I had school and my other hobbies, I never really had time to properly experiment with making food and figure out how I could do things. I think it’s really important that we take time to work on these things and set small goals to work towards. It doesn’t have to be as big as cooking, it could be getting dressed yourself or using cutlery. Working towards personal goals can also really help to keep yourself busy and productive.
No, I’m not telling you to go and mix a bunch of suspicious chemicals together or do anything dangerous. Experimenting with your daily routine or the way you do certain tasks can be a great way to improve your independence and general mood. Even just trying new ways of doing mundane tasks like making your bed can really get your brain thinking of better ways to be independent. For example, I recently started folding my clothes a different way and it really made sorting out my drawers a lot quicker. Playing around with how and when you do things can really shake up life if it’s starting to feel a little mundane.
Give yourself a break
Lockdown is a really difficult time for everyone so sometimes it’s totally fine to just stay in your pyjamas and watch movies, giving yourself time to be lazy is important. Of course you shouldn’t stay in bed all day every day, but if that’s something you feel like you need to do that day then you are totally entitled to that because your daily productivity is not what defines you.
Thank you very much for reading this and I hope that it helped some of you improve your lives in lockdown.
My Twitter: @ramps_and