The transition from being a Disabled child to becoming a Disabled adult by Emily Nicole Roberts

Fri,17 November 2023
Blog Education Equality & Rights
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It can be a scary thing, growing up.

I remember, looking into a mirror as a child, trying to comprehend the fact that, my wheelchair meant that I looked different. Never did I envisage that it also meant I would live differently too.

I was very lucky to have my parents pushing me along, both figuratively and literally. Every time I had a moment of weakness or questioned my worth, they gave me strength.

Of course, they didnt have all the answers, BUT they were by my side every wheel of the way as I tried to find my own.

When you grow up, you realise that your parents arent superheroes. Thats what made the actions of my mum and dad all the more special.

Being a disabled child began for me with naivety. In my early years, I was simply just a child, then, I began resenting myself and my perceived lack of ability. Instead of growing into myself, I wanted to shed my skin and become someone else. I hated my disability and wanted it to disappear.

Health professionals and educators werent checking my progress anymore, so, I found myself wondering if I had reached my peak.

After all, disabled people didnt usually achieve much at school did they? People like me” didnt get jobs. Disabled people dont pass driving tests”. The list goes on...

I was an adult but only in age. I was desperately missing my purpose - because, I was still rejecting my identity.

I didnt venture to university because I hadnt mastered skills like getting dressed yet. Its tough when you dont want to admit to struggle. I realised that I deemed my body a failure so become dependent out of spite.

Becoming a disabled adult meant that I accepted myself. One day, I realised that I had a life and decided to live it.

Okay, Im not perfect, but Im still trying.

our effort says more about you than anything else.

Being a disabled child I had help at every corner which made me lazy in instances. I accepted what was offered because I didnt want the possibility of trying, my own way, and failing.

Transitioning into adulthood has been hard and there have been moments that Im not proud of, but if I could give any advice to my younger self it would be:

Accept yourself and allow yourself to have the same experiences as your peers. The highs, the lows, everything. Just wake up and embrace who and where you are.

You are disabled but you are also able.

Your diagnosis has enabled so much in you! Bravery, empathy, gratitude, strength. Focus on what you can do, not what you cant.

Achieving things differently doesnt diminish the achievement itself does it?

You have grown and you will continue to. 

Yes, we may live differently but were alive!

Emily lives in Swansea and has cerebral palsy. She was shortlisted for the 2020 ITV National Diversity Awards and runs a YouTube channel, How Emily, to destigmatise disability.