Podcast Episode: My Life My Way: Lynn Murdoch
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MM - Michael McEwan
LM - Lynn Murdoch
In our continuing series, My Life My Way, Lynn Murdoch talks candidly to Michael McEwan about life with Cerebral Palsy. Lynn attended mainstream schools and tried office work for a while, now living in her own home and working as an activities co-ordinator in a care home, Lynn offers advice to others with disability.
MM Lynn stays in Nelson and she’s got Cerebral Palsy and she works in a care home and she is going to be speaking about her journey from school to working life to getting a house of her own. So, how did you feel when you went to your local school and you had a disability? Now you went to St Thomas’s Primary School, is that right?
LM That’s right, yes. I found it was ok. I always got support in the playground because there were a couple of times that I was knocked over, and my balance isn’t good, and I had to get supervision in the playground and in the classroom. I would get help with my work in the classroom, in particular maths, I was never good at maths, and then when I was about Primary 5 a new auxiliary nurse came in to help me and another boy, who had Spina Bifida, and she looked after both of us.
MM You went to mainstream Primary school, we will speak about Secondary school in a minute, how did you feel going into a primary school where all the children had no disability but you had a disability, how did that make you feel?
LM It kind of made me feel sometimes like the odd one out, if you know what I mean, because I was always needing a bit more help than the other children were.
MM Where they very friendly towards you?
LM Yeh, I always had someone wanting to play with me in the playground, I was quite a shy wee girl.
MM Did they get to know, I take it they got to know you through the school, at any time did you speak about your disability?
LM I think they kind of knew that I needed more help than they did, just because I had a helper with me all the time.
MM So, then you went up to St Luke’s in Barrhead, the high school and you got more support there?
LM Yeh, the lady that was with us in the primary school came up to the secondary school with me, Mrs Urquhart she was called.
MM That was good, and then did you have the same people with you from St Thomas’ to St Luke’s, or did you have different pupils?
LM I had the same pupils, my best friend Gill, I met her in primary 4 and we are still friends to this day.
MM Yeh, that’s good. would you say, if people listen to this, how do you feel now that you went to a local high school instead of a, kind of like, special school? Would you say that helped you to understand different people without a disability or…?
MM Yeh, em so, and I take it it’s about raising awareness of your disability as well?
MM Em, yeh. So, did you get one to one support or…?
LM Yeh, I got a scribe for my exams, I went through my exams and I had a scribe for that. I also had the same lady in, Mrs Urquhart, for the classrooms as well.
MM And Gill went to St Luke’s with you as well?
MM So that was good. Gill was…
LM It made me kind of have more of a social life and get to know people.
MM Yeh, would you say it helped your confidence as well?
LM I would say so, yeh.
MM That’s good. You went to school, eh, St Thomas’ and St Mark’s, with your mates…
LM St Luke’s.
MM St Luke’s, sorry. So, you went to St Thomas’s and St Luke’s, did you ever talk about your disability to your pals or did people ask you about your disability?
LM Yeh, obviously Gill knew and some of my closest friends knew.
MM If people asked you about your disability, were you scared to tell them or were you ok at saying that, you know, I’ve got cerebral palsy?
LM Yeh I was ok with it.
MM And I take it everybody in the school were, the teachers and that, were friendly and understanding that you needed more support and stuff like that…
MM So that was good. When you left school you went to, was it college, right away?
LM I went to college to do childcare.
MM Yeh, did you like it?
LM I did but I was more or less left to my own devices, I didn’t have Mrs Urquhart, or anybody, helping me with my college work, so unfortunately I didn’t, well I did my best but I didn’t pass that, so working with the children, it was an HNC Childcare course. I did my best but I didn’t pass it and I had 2 tries at it then that was it.
MM Were you disappointed?
LM I was, it obviously wasn’t for me.
MM I wanted to ask as well, the difference between going to a special needs school and going to high school or primary school, you still see your pals and I think you were lucky because, even though I am interviewing you as an interviewee for IRISFM, but I am also a pal, so I’ve known you for so many years and Lynn kind of helped me through my stages, because I went to a school and I had no pals round about as well, so Lynn kind of helped my confidence to grow, to go out and about as well, kind of thing, you know? So, life was ok when you left school and college, or did you like your life, or…?
LM Well I was a bit bored in the house a lot, it wasn’t really the best time of my life but after the college, I worked in the libraries and I met your auntie, sure? Then we became pals again, but unfortunately the council were cutting back so the work there wasn’t a lot, it was only when they needed me so I was still bored in the house. Then I got a couple of office jobs with enable Scotland, but anytime I went for an interview for an office job I never got it, even though I tried it was always, so and so got it and they had been to college or university and had better degrees than me.
MM Did you feel as though it was because you had your disability, it was holding you back or…?
LM Not as much but because I didn’t go to Uni or anything, I didn’t have, only had my school grades, I didn’t go to Uni and study anything, I just thought if I had done that I might have got a job in a certain subject but…
MM And then, away from that, the whole education thing and your work just for a minute, you joined the swimming team in East Renfrewshire. Is it east Ren, what’s it called?
MM Ren96, and then you joined a special swimming team as well. When and how did you join?
LM Well, before Ren in was Neilson Swimming Club and I swam with them from when I was 7 till I was about 9 and then when I was 9 Neilson joined into the one big club with Renfrewshire baths, Barrhead baths and Eldersley baths and it became, R for Renfrew, E for Eldersley and N for Neilson and 96 was the year that it amalgamated, and I have been swimming with them since about 96 and I have moved up from each squad to the squad I’m in just now, which is the master squad.
MM And you go about the company, swimming, representing east Ren, yeh?
MM What about your special needs swimming club?
LM Well I haven’t been there since June; I haven’t heard a word from them since it broke up for the holidays. Because I’ve not been classified for swimming I am just assuming that I’m not going to be going back there, unfortunately.
MM I’m going to ask you about your work and all that in a minute or two, but I wanted to you about the club that you go to, the Tuesday night club in Barrhead?
LM It’s fantastic. There is a lot of wide ranges of disabilities and it’s a great wee club, everybody goes there and you make new friends and it’s a good place to meet new friends and the girl that runs it is amazing. It’s different every night. 2 weeks ago was a race night and the week before that was karaoke, so it’s different every Tuesday night. It’s on and we went to the panto last night and there are trips throughout the year, so it’s a really good club, I recommend it.
MM So, how did you get to know about it?
LM Through my friend Elaine, who has got Cerebral Palsy as well, she is in a wheelchair.
MM So have you been going for a few years to that club?
LM About 3 years.
MM I’m going to ask you, Lynn, about your work now. You mentioned earlier on about Enable, just go back to Enable, if you can, and tell us what you were doing there and what were your tasks?
LM I was helping out in the Paisley offices and the Barrhead office, doing office work, like photocopying and filing and on the computer. There were a couple of times I was up at the Glasgow one as well, helping them as well, but I just felt that I wanted to get out of an office, you know? Being stuck in an office all the time and then my, when the care home got built in 2007, the manager at the time, went around the job centres to advertise the home was opening, for people to apply for it, and that’s when Irene Anderson saw it, or spoke to the lady, and she got an interview for me and that was it, and I’m still there 8 years on.
MM Irene Anderson is your…
LM Advisor, Job advisor.
MM Job advisor, at the job centre. Do you like your job?
LM I do. It has its moments but I do enjoy it.
MM What’s the best bit about it?
LM Just seeing the residents and making their day not as long for them and getting them active and doing stuff with them, because I know how they feel when I was in the house bored all the time, it’s not much fun being bored.
MM You mentioned earlier about not getting out the house, how did you solve that problem? Did you just say, right, I’m going out one day, and that’s it, or stuff like that?
LM I just, em, decided to start looking for jobs and any job that I went for I wasn’t successful and I was getting a bit down about it, but then I picked myself back up and I did the working for work for enable and that got me out the house and then I got the job with the care home.
MM Did you ever see yourself, when you were younger, going back now, working in a home, or did you want to do something else?
LM I actually wanted to put the television on in the aeroplanes for a while.
MM I don’t think you can do that now.
LM No, that idea is well out my head now, I’m quite happy with the job I’ve got.
MM Maybe it’s a bit of health and safety to do that now. I’m going to move on to your house that we are sitting in now in Neilson, it’s a nice house. You’ve been in here for a year?
LM Nearly, a year in February.
MM A year in February. How does it feel to have a house and how does it feel to have your own freedom and independence as well?
LM I like it, it’s good because I have always got mum and dad down the road and they pop in and check I’m ok and we have days where we are cooking, so mum teaches me to cook, so I’ve got meals in the freezer that I can have when I’m needing something to eat. Sometimes I will have a pizza out of Marks or something, but sometimes I just have a nice homemade dinner, it’s good for me. It’s good because I’ve got my friend Gill down the road as well and it’s so central for me, I’ve got the shops just down there and I’ve got the train station over that way, it’s just such a good wee cul-de-sac, the neighbours are all great, they are all lovely.
MM Did you ever see yourself, when you were younger, moving out?
LM well I would have hoped that I would get myself my own wee place, but if it wasn’t for my mum I don’t know where I would be, she’s been great, she is the best mum ever and she looks after me.
MM I left this question to last, and I hope you don’t mind me speaking about it, your disability, me and you have got something in common as well as being good mates, we have the same disability as well, cerebral palsy, so what would you say to people listening to this, if they wanted to go out and about and didn’t have a lot of confidence, in what way does your cerebral palsy hold you back, or does it hold you back?
LM I try not to let it hold me back, but sometimes like, see if I forget to take my medicine and I’m out at work or going to the shop, I get really sore legs, so that can be a bit of a bother. I don’t know if you get pain in your legs or anything?
MM I used to when I was younger, I used to go in a wheelchair.
MM Because I couldn’t walk far, only 5 minutes or whatever.
LM Yeh. I get pains down my legs and I’m not good at balancing, my balance is a bit off at times.
MM But you get by so that’s good, and you’ve got your family and friends looking out for you, so you’re not alone, and you’ve got a nice house.
LM It’s not just cerebral palsy as well, I have been diagnosed with mild to moderate learning disability as well so, to be honest, I don’t think the doctors actually know what my condition is, but they put it down to cerebral palsy but I don’t think they will ever be actually absolutely sure that’s my actual diagnosis.
MM So, that was interesting, Lynn, thanks for your time.
LM No problem, Michael, thank you.
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