Releasing Scotlandís Potential: Beyond Boundaries
Having a physical disability is an obstacle but there are ways to overcome it. I realise that with each obstacle I have overcome there are solutions; whether I adapt obstacles so that I can participate in society or change how I am perceived. Once Iíve solved one barrier this equips me with a unique set of skills that I can use to tackle other situations.
Looking at society, whether it is disabled or able bodied, people seem to take life by the flow: they are probably lacking in confidence or donít have the strength to enable them to reach their potential. This is where we need to bridge the gap. Also, most people fear failure and are unwilling to attempt challenging opportunities.
In order to fulfill your potential you need to have the motivation to succeed. As a student, I was beginning to handle a lot in a short space time and felt competent to share and inspire other i.e. putting my skills and life experiences through Tall Ship sailing where, despite my physical limitations I climbed the mast. This achievement was certainly a life changing experience.
More recently, along with nine other disabled teenagers, we had to fight our way from the edge of the Amazon Basin, climb up to over 5000m to reach the snowline on Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world, and then descend down to sea level, wading through miles of swamp before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Two days before we reached the Pacific, I thought my body had reached its physical limit because I could barely move my legs apart because I had sustained muscle injury due to my Cerebral Palsy.
For me, mentally I was determined to the reach the end and my body was telling me that it was not possible. I just was more determined to push my body beyond the limits despite the agonizing pain in my legs because I knew it would be worth it and the sense of jubilation was much more.
Adults working with young people have to give them the social empowerment to try things. This builds them up to becoming respected citizens, self responsible and builds confidence which will help individual reach their potential.
Despite these obstacles, I can do things the same as other people but they may have to be done differently however my barriers aren't over yet!