Teenage Girl Explains Cerebral Palsy Through Animation To Help Her Classmates Understand

 

Tegan Vincent-Cooke is a 14-year-old girl from Bristol who has cerebral palsy.

Being the only pupil with a disability at her school, she came to realise her fellow classmates were too shy to talk to her or ask her any questions.

To help tackle this, Vincent-Cooke created a three-minute animated film (with the help of some professionals), to explain her condition to her classmates.

“I have Cerebral Palsy, to the ‘able-bodied world’ I’m disabled! But I don’t like the word disabled because it reminds me of when your phone is disabled and it ‘s useless,” Vincent-Cooke told HuffPost UK Parents.

“So I like to say DIFF-abled, which stands for differently-able. Because I’m not useless! I recently made a short film about what it is like to live with a DIFF-ability.

“I hoped it would help people understand that living with a disability isn’t easy.”

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In the video Vincent-Cooke tells her story through the voiceover:

“My name is Tegan, and I’m differently-able,” she begins the video.

Speaking to she told HuffPost UK Parents, Vincent-Cooke explained:

“In my first year of school I was getting stared at a lot, no one appeared to have the guts to ask me anything.

“So my mum approached the school and asked the teacher to encourage everyone in my year to do a little PowerPoint presentation about themselves to share in tutor groups.

“My teacher thought my PowerPoint was really good, educational and inspiring.

“She wanted me to show it to other students in school. So I changed my PowerPoint a bit to give people a real look at what it’s like living with different abilities.

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“I wanted my school friends to understand more about me and that I’m not that different after all.

“Approach me I won’t bite!”

Vincent-Cooke said her mum encouraged her to ask one of her friends to help her turn the PowerPoint into a short animation.

“I’m so glad as it tells my story with a big smile just how I want it,” she added.

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Vincent-Cooke begins her video with a description of how difficult it was when she was born, with doctors not believing that she would survive.

“When mum was ready to come and see me, she saw a newborn baby in an incubator, covered in needles and wearing a hat full of ice.”

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The teenager explains her parents were told she was diagnosed with quadriplegia cerebral palsy and she talks about how it affects her body.

“I’m 13 years old now and I live in a house that is adapted to my needs. But the outside world isn’t…”

Vincent-Cooke describes how much her family mean to her and she has friends that would do anything for her.

What she doesn’t like, is the unwanted attention she receives when walking down the corridor.

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She describes how trapped she feels with all eyes on her when she walks aroundschool and how it makes her feel uncomfortable.

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However making the video seems to have done exactly what she set out to do. Tegan’s mother, Sylvia Vincent told the BBC: “Straight away people asked more and did more.She was treated totally different.”

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The animated film also explains why Vincent-Cooke has to do exercise and what happens to her body when she doesn’t.

She talks about her passion for horse-riding, as well as discussing the competitions she has won in dressage.

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Vincent-Cooke hopes her video will change the way people view people with disabilities as being defined by their conditions.

“I say that everyone is unique and so therefore, different in their own way. I am differently able, I am not disabled,” she finishes the video with.

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