25-Mar-24 | News

Thought Leadership: Luke Nadin

Cerebral palsy: what my condition means to me and how I use it to my advantage to help others.

To celebrate the conclusion of cerebral palsy awareness month here at Microlink, I want to tell you, my story.

My name is Luke Nadin I am a wheelchair user and have had cerebral palsy all my life. However, this does not define me.

I started my educational journey at Victoria education centre in Bournemouth, where I achieved GCSE A to C, and then I decided to move on to study ICT at Bournemouth and Poole college. It was here where my appreciation for my disability truly started.I began looking at my disability differently and realising that although I was in a chair, most of the day I could look at the world differently and use my ability to overcome barriers both physically and educationally using a mixture of technology and physical accessories to help me daily.

I began using Dragon NaturallySpeaking to help me with typing assignments. This was brilliant because it allowed me to write down my thoughts and feelings independently without having to rely on someone to type for me. This was fantastic because it gave me independence.

I finished my college course with a distinction star which is equivalent to 3 or four A-levels. I then moved on to the University of Portsmouth where I graduated in 2015 in Business Information Systems. Here, my appreciation of my disability became clearer, because I was able to use my disability in the research for my dissertation. I was tasked with speaking to my peers about how assistive technology and physical solutions help them in higher education and in the workplace.

This was by far my most prized piece of work and I eventually gained a 2.1.

It may have taken me some time to achieve my own goal of finding employment after coming out of university, but in 2018, my life changed when I used video CV technology to help me gain employment with Microlink.

I have no doubt in my mind that Microlink’s decision to offer me employment changed my life dramatically. that I could now use my expertise as a person who has cerebral palsy and a disability to help others in a similar situation to me. I found a place where I could show people that working in an understanding and inclusive environment is achievable and accessible to anyone with a disability.

I now have a full range of inclusive technologies that help me on a day-to-day basis. I am able to independently produce high quality work with the help of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Inspiration mind-mapping software, and Read and Write Gold software (which helps me read documents).

I have done many things in my time at Microlink which call on my expertise as a person with cerebral palsy. This includes public speaking. I personally love this, because it allows me to interact and communicate with others in similar situations, and it allows me to show people what people are capable of if they put their mind to a specific goal. I believe that I have helped to show people that, with a bit of determination and thinking outside the box, you can achieve anything.

I have also used my expertise to help research into accessible housing. I have used my research skills when it comes to identifying new client streams as well as having a working relationship with other companies and charities such as Disability Rights UK and Superpeople (where I am an ambassador and board member and am currently working with an exciting project management unit with Arts University Bournemouth).

Within the last 10 years of my life, I believe that I have a better understanding of my condition than when I was younger, and I thought it was a barrier. Now I truly see my condition as a superpower. I see that it can open doors to me and allows me to show others that while yes, you may have a condition, with the right support both physically and technologically, any barriers, whether they be in education or the workplace, can be overcome. It’s about using what you have to your advantage and being able to understand that you are the best person to tell people about YOUR condition.

In the future I would like to expand my knowledge by going to more talks and conferences to share my story and my experiences. I feel it’s important to be visible and able to communicate with people about how Microlink has helped me, and how our mission can help those who need it most, both in education and the workplace. It is my ambition and hope that I will be a visible figure at the forefront of doing just this.

Thank you for reading.