Student Who Can Only Write Using His Eyes Earns First-Class Degree
A disabled student who can only write using his eyes has excelled during his time at university and earned himself a first-class degree.
Twenty-two-year old Aidan Mataer, from Bolton, was born with choreoathetoid cerebral palsy and has spent his life in a wheelchair with extremely limited movement in his upper body due to the condition.
As well as battling all of that during his time at university, Aidan also had to take a year out from his course to undergo a major operation on his hip three years ago.
"The pain was so bad I couldn't even sit in my wheelchair," Aidan said.
"This procedure made me even more physically disabled but got rid of the pain so once I recovered from the operation I was able to return to university.
"Studying at all levels has been difficult because of my profound physical disability. Everything I do takes me much longer than it takes my peers and at times I have had to draw on every ounce of determination to keep going.
"I have always been profoundly physically disabled. I cannot walk or use my hands, except to drive my power wheelchair. I use technology to write, either my thumb on a mini iPad or a Tobii eye gaze on a laptop where I use a tracker to scan the screen with my eyes."
However, he's not let any of it hold him back and his hard work as paid off in the form of a first-class degree in creative writing from Bolton University.
Aidan said: "The university had arranged a temporary lift in the graduation hall so I was able to access the stage like all the other graduates.
"Driving across the stage to shake hands with the chancellor, the Earl of St Andrews, was the proudest moment of my life. It felt brilliant."
As well as collecting his degree Aidan scooped the Governors' Prize for Final Assessment Most Significant Achievement.
He added: "I am passionate about disability awareness and I want to use my lived experience of disability to be an ambassador, and to support other people with disabilities and their families.
"The university was very supportive and understanding when I had to take a year out for extensive surgery.
"They made it easy for me to simply suspend study until I was well enough to return. I got a lot of support."
Now he's officially a graduate, Aidan plans to focus on his writing, which he puts on his blog called "An Aid for All', and developing his advocacy work for people with disabilities.
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