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Lisa, age 18

I have had right-sided hemiplegia since I was born. Sometimes my right hand and leg really upsets me as it is slightly thinner. I get a bit self-conscious and upset that I am slower at walking. I have been wearing splints from Second Skin for many years now sometimes on my hand and foot and I think that it has helped my hand and leg get stronger.

When I was in primary school, I always worried as I found it very hard to sharpen my pencils as I couldn’t twist my hand. I would hate asking for people to wait for me as I was slow at walking. Also, sometimes when I hold someone’s hand I feel embarrassed because I can’t grip their hand properly. Maths was also very hard for me in school and I still hate it now. Shoelaces were always a problem as I found it very hard to do the laces, so now I just buy shoes without laces. I’ve also learnt that it is ok to ask someone as I am sure they don’t mind and would be happy to help.

As I got older, I realised that thankfully my disability doesn’t stop me from doing anything and I like to be independent and determined to do things. If you have a dream that you want to achieve just realise that you are more than capable and don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help or say to someone please could you help me as I’m sure they would love to. I also feel that to speak about your hemiplegia is the best way to deal with it and speaking about my hemiplegia really helped me.

I think my hemiplegia has helped me to become a more determined person and helped me to overcome challenges. For example, if someone tells me I shouldn’t walk there as I might get tired, I always go because even if I am a bit slower I will get there in the end.

I am very grateful for my loving, caring, supportive family who are always trying to find easier ways for me to manage things. They also help me out whenever I need it.

I hope that I have helped anyone that might be struggling with how to deal with having hemiplegia, as it is all about gaining the confidence to realise that you can do what everyone else is doing in your own time and own way. I have always believed from my own experiences that you shouldn’t let your disability stop you from doing what you want to do.

I am now learning to drive and it is possibly one of the hardest things I have ever done as it is all to do with coordination and perception.

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