Paige is 20 years old and lives in Bagillt, North Wales.
When you start a new project you often have an idea of the people you will meet and stories you may here but nothing prepared me for the incredibly inspiring and positive people that I met during the ‘We can…’ project. Paige is one person who sees the world so clearly and she is wise beyond her years.
People often feel sympathy for those with disabilities, however, the joyous thing about meeting Paige is that she truly believes it is not something to be pitied as she finds it to be a benefit.
Paige explained “I mainly do life skills at Coleg Cambria. It helps students like me who have troubles with subjects or who have a disability. It helps us find our talents like with say cooking and ICT. The staff are really helpful and help us when we need it. They encourage us to do well and work hard.
“Having a disability makes you unique, it makes you different from other people. In a way, it can help you as well as hinder you at times. I have met some people who use their disability to help them and it is can be amazing to see how it goes. My disability makes me think somewhat differently from others. I think at a different pace. I think faster and it helps me do what I like to do, for example. Speed reading. Sometimes I skip words which sometimes confuses me. I have a lot more energy at times. It is hard to explain when you have it yourself.
“Being able to speedread can get a bit annoying at times thought like when you have to wait for other students to catch up. That is probably the only downside with having that skill.”
When asked what advantages a disability can give you Paige said “It sets you apart. It gives you a hidden edge that you don’t know you have until you discover it. Some people for example understand maths better than others because their brains pick apart numbers more easily whereas others would have a harder time.
“People who are negative towards those with a disability need to learn to open their eyes a bit more. People who do not understand disabilities need to meet someone to understand them. They need to be more open minded because if they have not met someone with a disability then you don’t know what you are missing. I have a little sister who has trouble hearing and seeing but she is great at lip reading, she understands and she listens to you. She is the best little sister that you could have. We have our arguments at times but I love her to pieces. She is my little sister and I accept her for who she is. She has slow learning but I help her the best I can. She is great at languages and is trying to learn Chinese at the moment. She practices a lot.
“Project like ‘We can…’ help us to explain about who we are and you want to take part just to prove you can. The reason I am doing this is to help people understand more. It is hard when you have a disability at times because you do not know how to cope with it and if a parent or new parents have a disabled child then they are not going to know what to do. I am hoping to help others out there to understand what it is like to have a disability or a disabled child. It was hard for mum when I was a baby because she did not know I had ADHD until I was tested. It was hard for her to adjust to the idea for my mum but she managed and has raised us brilliantly. She is the best mum I could have. I love all my family.
“Being disabled is an amazing world to be in and I am glad to be part of it.”
Paige is on the autistic spectrum, ADHD and also has vasovagal syncope which causes fainting.