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‘Why can’t you see me?’ - Teenager’s battle to be respected

PUBLISHED: 19:00 19 June 2020

Grace says she is just like any other teenager, she likes chatting up boys, doing her makeup and going to concerts. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

Grace says she is just like any other teenager, she likes chatting up boys, doing her makeup and going to concerts. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

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A strong-willed teenager with Cerebral Palsy has started her own YouTube channel after years of ‘being ignored’, ‘treated like a baby’ and even ‘stepped over’.

Grace with her service dog Scooby. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILYGrace with her service dog Scooby. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

Grace Wolstenholme is 16 and like many of her peers loves makeup, chatting up boys and partying – but being in a wheelchair and struggling with speech impediments means she often gets ignored.

“When I’m out a lot of the time people talk to mum or my carer but they don’t talk to me,” she explained.

“I feel like they look at me and think because I am in a wheelchair I don’t understand, they just look in front of me like I am not even there which really annoys me.”

Grace lives with her mum Simone in Wanstead, London, but regularly comes to Frinton where they have a holiday flat and is accompanied by her beloved service dog, Scooby, who helps her with day to day tasks.

Grace with her mum Simone. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILYGrace with her mum Simone. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

When out and about she’s often experienced people stepping over her legs and wheelchair in queues and said: “Even people my age don’t understand, they think I am in a wheelchair so don’t understand.

“I am a normal teenager, I like chatting up boys, I like to party – I find it funny when people my age treat me like a baby.”

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On her YouTube channel, the bubbly 16-year-old opens up about her day to day battle with simple tasks, holds a Q&A and releases informative videos such as ‘10 things not to say or do to someone with Cerebral Palsy’.

Grace at the beach in Frinton with her friend Syd. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILYGrace at the beach in Frinton with her friend Syd. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

Her funny and often moving videos cover personal subjects such as her dating life, what school was like and her daily fitness routine.

She also recorded a powerful monologue for theatre company Chicken Shed called ‘Why can’t you see me?’ which has been uploaded on to her channel.

Grace added: “People think I’m happy all of the time, but I just seem like it.

“Sometimes I think ‘oh sod it, I don’t want Cerebral Palsy anymore’.

Grace with Colchester-born singer Olly Murs. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILYGrace with Colchester-born singer Olly Murs. Picture: WOLSTENHOLME FAMILY

“I can’t even go to the toilet without my mum helping me take my knickers off and stuff like that is hard for me.”

However, the brave teenager says she isn’t afraid to talk about her life and thinks it is very important people are aware that Cerebral Palsy isn’t always mild.

She has also had messages from other teens with Cerebral Palsy who have been inspired by her videos.

MORE: Coronavirus survivor from Frinton donates huge care pack and funds to hospital which saved his life


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