My Message to the World
“From the moment my parents realised the severity of my cerebral palsy and the likely impact that it was going to have on me, they had one goal: to find a way for me to be able to communicate and have a voice in this world. My speech wasn’t easy to understand but by teaching me the alphabet and to spell out words, they ensured that one way or another, I could always make myself understood.
My Dad instilled in me a love of reading. Whenever I got bored or sad that my sister and other children in my neighbourhood were busy playing outside or doing various physical activities that I couldn’t join in with, he would give me a book and know that I would be transported to another world. And I can still hear the comfort of my Mum's voice as she read bedtime stories to me at night. I thoroughly enjoyed school, excelling particularly in writing stories and poems using a typewriter and I always knew that one day, I would write a book of my own.
My parents taught me that the only way to live with my disability would be to fully accept it, and that I would be able to achieve all that I wanted to with a lot of hard work and determination. They lit a spark within my soul that eventually grew into a flame; a passion to succeed and to let the world know that as a disabled person, I am Not That Different to anyone else.
Through writing, I share my philosophy that despite sometimes having to face huge challenges, life with disability can be just as enjoyable and fulfilling as it is for anyone else. I think it’s safe to say that having obtained a university degree; got married, had children and built a home and family of my own; having worked as a full-time volunteer for a national charity supporting disabled parents and later as a school governor and having the opportunity to work with over a thousand primary school children delivering my Not That Different teaching programme, I have a great deal to be thankful for.
For me, the premise that we're Not That Different acknowledges the simple fact that when we compare ourselves to others and see that where there are many distinctions between us, there are also similarities and common ground can always be found. I have proved time and again that people will have a far greater understanding of disability if they learn from someone like myself, A Real Disabled Person. I strongly believe that by treating each other with respect and as equals, by interacting, communicating and learning from each other, we will gain mutual understanding and greater appreciate the world in which we all live.
I implore you to not only learn from me through the gift of my writing, but to help me in my mission to educate, motivate and inspire others.