Don't let disability hold you back

My name is Taylor McTaggart and I’m 15. I have a disability and use an electric wheelchair, but that doesn’t mean I’m not able to do anything.

Taylor McTaggartToo often I hear the word ‘can’t’ when I’m with young people with disabilities. I can’t take part in that sport, I can’t be involved in that event, I can’t support others – and the list goes on. This just isn’t true.

When I was five months old, I was diagnosed with meningitis, which led to double leg and arm amputations. Obviously, there are some things that I can’t do, but that doesn’t matter – what matters is focusing on the things you CAN do and making sure you enjoy doing them.

When I was younger, I never liked sport. I was nervous about getting involved and really thought I couldn’t take part. But when I started at St Mungos Academy in Glasgow; a mainstream secondary school, something changed. My teacher introduced me to boccia, sitting volleyball and lots of other inclusive sports, which I absolutely loved. I started going to competitions and helping out at events – that’s when I found volunteering.

I got chosen to be part of the Inclusive Futures programme, which the Youth Sport Trust runs with funding from Spirit of 2012. It aims to inspire young leaders to volunteer within disability sport at school and in local clubs. Being part of the initiative completely changed me. It built my confidence as a leader and gave me a voice.

Now I lead a boccia club at my school, volunteer at sports event in the community and teach different inclusive sport activities including table hockey to the elderly. All this has been possible because I believe in myself.

I hope when people read this, they feel motivated to achieve something for themselves. I want young people with disabilities to realise they have choices. Sport can help you do that and has definitely helped me.

Being involved in Inclusive Futures has completely changed me and I would encourage all young people to get involved. Give it a go, be part of something special.

Anyone who lives with a disability knows that it can be trying at times, but difficulties you face along the way, will only make you stronger. Be proud – be brilliant.

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