For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently in my first year of university. It’s funny because thinking back to when I was in year 11, I didn’t actually want to go to university at all. I had no idea what career I wanted to do, and I knew that I wouldn’t be ready to live away from home. However, I had always been interested in anything psychology-related and after taking psychology as an A-Level I found that I really enjoyed studying it. My dad then looked into the University of Hertfordshire, and found that it would be possible for me to commute there each day. I didn’t know this, I’d always presumed university meant living away from home. As I began to find out more information about university, I decided that I would like to study psychology at a local university where I could commute. I then heard that there was a university in Cambridge other than Cambridge University itself, Anglia Ruskin University. The ‘typical’ option for going to university seems to be living at the university, so I was questioned by quite a few people about my choice of university. People thought I would be fine living away from home, that I’d be missing out on the ‘university experience’ by living at home. It was so frustrating, as my dyspraxia and cerebral palsy mean that I just wouldn’t get on well living away from home yet – I’m not as independent as other people my age, I struggle with changes in routines (moving away from home would be a huge change!), meeting new people can be difficult for me (so living with people I’ve never even met before would be very hard). Maybe if I was starting university in a few years time I would consider living away from home but I knew that I wasn’t ready to live away from home yet, and not everyone realised that which was really frustrating. So as you can probably tell I was so glad when I’d finally submitted my application…and I was delighted to receive an unconditional offer from my favourite choice of university! I accepted my offer in January and applied for DSA (Disabled Students’ Allowance) at the end of February, after I had completed my Student Finance application.
As someone with both dyspraxia and cerebral palsy, a question I’ve been asked before is “What is the difference between cerebral palsy and dyspraxia?”
I thought I would write a blog post which looks at the similarities and differences between dyspraxia and cerebral palsy, to try to make it a bit clearer for others as well as for myself! I must firstly point out that obviously I’m not an expert at all and I am writing this purely through my own experiences and research.
There are certain disabilities that people would assume to be ‘invisible’. I’ll often see posts on Facebook saying things along the line of “Share this if you support people with invisible illnesses/conditions” and it’ll have a list of conditions, such as: diabetes, autism, anxiety, depression, epilepsy. I’m sure you’ve all seen similar posts before.
The conditions listed are ones which people recognise as being ‘hidden’. However, one disability which is never recognised as being ‘hidden’ is cerebral palsy.