In the spring, I interviewed a woman called Kirsty who I have known for several years. We first met at an inclusive dance group with the organization Paragon Music, and we have kept in touch regularly since. I thought it would be good to hear from Kirsty and her experiences of living with a disability.
Kirsty has cerebral palsy which affects her mobility, speech and she also has some learning difficulties including long term memory loss, reading and writing. Walking and communication can be challenging at times which means that Kirsty finds getting from A to B hard by herself. She uses a walking frame to support her to walk but explains she can’t walk unaided. Kirsty has one personal assistant who supports her for a certain amount of hours during the week, they help her to keep track of everything as her CP also has an impact on her day-to-day life and organization skills. Kirsty has a very supportive family who are always there whenever they are needed to help her – she lives a very busy life but just needs a bit of assistance from time to time.
I was interested to get Kirsty’s thoughts on how society acts around disability – she explains that most people are overly nice because she is disabled which is annoying sometimes. She has noticed a difference in people’s attitude since before covid. Pre pandemic it seemed people were getting a better understanding of disability, but Kirsty says she feels that it has gone back the way which is interesting. There is improvement that she is noticing but still a long way to go as people assume that CP affects everyone in the same way which isn’t true at all and finally, people always see somebody who is disabled and expect them to be in the para-athletics which is frustrating as you just want to live a normal life.
Kirsty works five hours a week at H1 Healthcare as a data analyst, she got chatting to a woman who works there at a ‘Bobath Ball’ and went for the job interview a week later which was successful. Kirsty loves to help others in any way that she can and volunteers at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow. Her role involves interacting with the kids and keeping them occupied while they are attending the outpatients waiting area – this lets Kirsty use her childcare qualifications too but unfortunately her volunteering is still on hold due to covid.
Kirsty lives an active life; she enjoys attending an art club once a week and has an interest in sport- she is part of red star athletics and a Paralympic futures academy where she trains to throw the discus and the cub. Fitness comes into it as Kirsty goes to the gym and swims too, so it is a full package. Out-with these activities, she has a love for baking, cheering on Glasgow city football club and going on trips away to the Scottish islands.
Kirsty has recently moved into her own accommodation, so I was really interested to hear about how she was doing – this was a big move for Kirsty, she was very anxious and nervous but also excited at the prospect of getting her own flat. At the beginning she explains how she was unsure of her surroundings as she is someone who gets lost easily so she got support from her personal assistant to learn how to get around using public transport etc.
Like everyone it takes time for you to settle into a new area and this was the same for Kirsty – she is now familiar with her neighbors and has met new friends. Everything about having your own house was on Kirsty’s mind especially paying bills on time but she was glad she was able to get assistance with this. The transition was different from what Kirsty expected as unfortunately she wasn’t living at her family home before she got her flat due to a house fire – so this made her moving experience easier. She is delighted with her own place, and it means a lot to call it her own home.
Thank you to Kirsty for participating in this blog, I will leave you with a quote from the woman herself “Don’t give up, live life to the fullest every day!”.
A Blog Post by Bernie Hunter