banner image

Natalie’s Story

Natalie gives an honest account of her early years and the challenges she had to overcome due to AT.

This is my experience of having A.T as a young child – from around 7 years old, I don’t remember much before then.

School was terrible I found my so called friends would bully me simply because they were jealous of the attention I got (speech therapist etc would come in to school to help me).

I loved high school from about the third year, which was when I was diagnosed.  I don’t remember very much about it actually.  In some ways things got better.  I now had a diagnosis and realised that it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t keep up with Jonathan (my brother) and school also knew I had a rare condition. I was still a bit of a loner ?. But was still relatively happy, not really knowing what was to come.

My best friend was Mr Hatcher (the deputy head) anything I wanted or needed he would help me achieve it. If I had a problem he would sort it. I remember he lent me money to go to MacDonald’s ?!  I had the confidence to ask then.


The design technology department made me a handle attached to a ruler so I could use it. Mt Hatcher and the staff wanted to do something for me and my family, so he sent us to Florida! ?



My work experience was different, Mr Hatcher had sorted out doing a different job every day, with rest days in between. My favourite day was being a model ?


I was still walking then, but used a wheelchair to go to the shop and MacDonald’s in break and lunch times.  I remember one time I refused to go in my wheelchair around town when we were out as a family, but I got so exhausted I couldn’t walk another step and my brother had to go back to the car for the wheelchair ?

I stayed on for sixth form only because Mr Hatcher made a timetable for me which consisted of Spanish, computers, horse riding and quite a lot of free time to study, but I just spent it in the sixth form café ?

I didn’t start using a wheelchair fully till I went to college Hereward in Coventry. We looked at six colleges in total up and down the country. I loved my college years – I was there for 4 years. I had friends, boyfriends nobody to judge me.  A small number of people bullied me, but I think it was because they were jealous of my good looks and confidence ?

Once me and my friend went a mile down the road both in electric wheelchairs to the supermarket on a booze run ? There was also a nightclub, pub and off-licence nearby we regular visited.

My life pre lockdown:

On the whole, Monday to Friday I have a busy and fulfilling life. I go to the gym and do aqua aerobics with my best friend Toni. We also go to the pub and out for meals, which means when it comes round to Saturday/Sunday I don’t mind resting and chilling out. Sometimes we do go out Saturdays and Sundays, but usually it is during the week.

I do have bad days when I reflect on how things might have been and get frustrated as I can’t do things that other 35 year olds do.  If I didn’t have AT I would either have a high flying career or married with a couple of sprogs?.  These down days can go on for a couple of days, then I just give myself a shake, pick myself up and get on with it.


There are a lot of people a lot worse off than me and on the whole I have a good and busy life.  I get to have lots of holidays and spend time with my family – we have lots of fun times and laugh a lot.


During lockdown:

On the whole my mental health is good. I try to keep positive and set myself tasks to complete everyday, so that I am not getting into a rut and feeling sorry for myself.

The things I miss most are not seeing Toni, getting out and about and exercise. The first 4 weeks seemed to drag as it was my birthday in that period and we were all going out as a family, so that was hard. Since then it has gone pretty quickly. I am just looking forward to the better weather, holidays and seeing Toni again.

When I feel bad I just drink ? Malibu and coke it’s my favourite drink, but I do like cherry vodka and lemonade which I have just discovered ?

Natalie’s ‘Happy Book’ Story