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Patchworker Spotlight: Chloe’s story
Chloe is a disability blogger, freelancer and content designer from Leeds, UK. Living with cerebral palsy, Chloe is also registered blind. Chloe kindly spoke to us about her experiences, the development of her blogging platform, and her disability advocacy work.
To start, could you please tell us about yourself?
I'm Chloe. I've been blogging for 9 years. I focus my content on my lived experiences of having cerebral palsy and being registered blind. I'm particularly passionate about challenging public attitudes toward disabled people, access to education and disability hate crime. For my day job, I work as a content designer for Scope. As part of my role, I write their information and advice content. We aim to write material that enables disabled people to make informed decisions about their life.
Can you tell us a bit more about your story?
I started my blog at the age of 15, while I was completing my GCSEs. In honesty, I felt out of touch with my peers and sought out disabled role models in my life. I then studied Psychology and Child Development at university and graduated with a First Class Honours degree. During this time I started freelancing and public speaking. This led to me winning several awards for my writing and campaigning. Among these, I was recognised in the Shaw Trust Power 100 List as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain.
I was born with mild cerebral palsy, but it was only at university that I began to lose my sight. I was registered as partially sighted, and last year this changed to registered blind. I've been on the waiting list for a guide dog for 18 months. I cannot wait! I've just moved into my first home, and having a guide dog will enable my independence.
Have you faced any workplace barriers due to your situation? Do you think the ‘conventional’ world of work most employers use needs to change?
As I work within the disability charity sector and for a Disability Confident employer, I’ve been very fortunate. I work 4 days a week and this allows me to manage my condition and continue freelancing. My role also enables me to work from home. Without these adjustments, employment wouldn't be sustainable.
If you could change one thing about the world of work or the way employers saw accessibility, what would it be and why?
Working from home can truly open up the world of employment. I think it's really important to have flexibility as well.
What inspired you to start doing the work you currently do?
At the age of 15, I'd never met anyone with cerebral palsy. In a way, I was left stuck between the non-disabled and disabled world. Writing was my escape to process what was happening. I certainly didn't expect it to become my job! I just wanted to ensure that no one felt alone.
What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your career to date?
Listen to your body. Originally, I really wanted to work full-time. I also felt like I had something to prove. However, I'm so much happier working 4 days a week as it has enabled me to manage my condition and do the things I love.
Do you have a favourite quote or personal mantra?
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” — Maya Angelou.
If you could change one thing about people's perception of disability, what would it be?
Being disabled isn't the worst thing in the world. We can live happy lives and succeed. Also, we don’t 'overcome' our condition or achieve things 'despite' being disabled.
Find out more about Chloe’s story and work:
Published: 11th June 2022
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