A cerebral (palsy) conversation with master juggler, Marley Lyras-Hull. Marley works full time at CPA and is currently studying for her fourth (yep, fourth) degree.
She’s raising three daughters, one of whom lives with a disability, and Marley herself lives with cerebral palsy. When there really are only 24 hours in a day, how does she get it all done?
Marley fills us in on how she juggles ALL the things, what inspires her, and her tips for other parents living with a disability or parenting a child with disability.
Listen to Episode 12 here:
Ben McAlary: Thinking about your daughter and potentially her entering the workforce of the future. What’s your hope for her? You know, what is you, what do you hope that employers get better in regards to diversity and inclusion?
Marley: Yeah. Well, I hope that I mean, and I hope this for anyone really is just to, as we were saying before, just look past the disability, look past what, you know, don’t assume that what you see is all there is to that person. They might be missing out on some fantastically talented people because of their , I shouldn’t say prejudice, but you know, just the limited thinking with regards to people with disabilities. So yeah, and I find that people with a disability also tend to push themselves even more and are really fantastic employees because they really want to show people, you know, this is not me. This disability is not me. I can do fantastic things. Let me prove that to you. And then they tend to do that.
Andy McLean: Something I’ve certainly seen really shining through is problem-solving.
Marley: I couldn’t agree with you more. You know, I think when you’re limited or if you have a limit to anything, you tend to push yourself even further. It can be anything, even if someone is not intellectual, or doesn’t like going to school, you know, and you find that they’re put down by teachers and all that, oh, you’re not smart enough, even that that sort of person will excel in their life because they’ve always got something to prove. And definitely with that, that happens with someone with disability. I find I do that all the time. I’m always pushing myself and pushing myself. I try not to tell my daughters, you know, you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to anyone, but at the same time, you know, you want to show them, I’m more than just what you’re saying.
Andy McLean: Marley, something that really kind of stands out when I talk to you is you seem to be very driven. You’ve got this sort of all these ideas and you know, you’re studying. You said it’s your fourth degree, did you say fourth degree. So if you were giving any advice to other people with cerebral palsy, obviously with the caveat that cerebral palsy manifests itself in lots of different ways. But if you are thinking about people who have cerebral palsy themselves and they have ambitions and and perhaps maybe they’ve come across people in life who’ve said you can’t do that or you’ll never do that. What would your advice be for them?
Marley: Don’t listen. Do not listen to people t ell you not, you can’t do something. Absolutely not. My biggest advice is don’t have regrets. Don’t don’t limit yourself because you think you, you know you can’t do something because of your disability. I did that for many years. I’ve just pushed my way through that and thought, No, I’m not going to let that stop me anymore. So, you know, yes, I’ve done my degrees and I’m doing my fourth one now, but do the other degrees I’ve, you know, worked. I learned how to drive. I didn’t let anything stop me and I didn’t. I never wanted to be treated differently. And I think that was one of my main motivations as well. And my parents were fantastic and they never, ever treated me any different from anyone else for my sisters or anything. So I kind of that that really made a difference as well. They were fantastic.
Andy McLean: That’s interesting because we will have parents listening to this and potentially will have parents who are quite new to the world of cerebral palsy. They’ll be coming to it. They know a lot about it in their fight, their fact finding, and they might be listening to the podcast for that very reason. So what would your advice be for parents who are kind of starting out on this journey a little bit with a child with cerebral palsy?
Marley: Just don’t treat them like they have a disability? That’s my number one. I think I would, I would tell them because majority of the time there’s nothing wrong with, it’s just a physical disability. So, you know, unfortunately, you have friends and and people on the street or something that might, you know, talk to your child differently. Try to make that not happen if possible, because it does affect the person, even though they’re not showing it. And like you said, there’s different degrees of cerebral palsy, and maybe some children don’t, can’t show their expressions as easily, but they are feeling it and they do notice it so. And if you’ve got other sibling, other children, treat them all the same. You know, don’t don’t make any special consideration, obviously, unless you have to, but just treat them the same because that’s all they want. And then it doesn’t become a big deal after that.
Ben McAlary: So Marley, with that continuous improvement and that drive top of mind, what’s next? What are you going to do next?
Marley: OK, well, I , my business is my number one priority at this moment. I really I’ve just got a massive passion for it, for interior design. And so I would absolutely love it if I could get this a business, a design business, up and running. I don’t know how. I’ll be honest. I have no idea where to start, but when there’s a challenge, we find a way to get around it and this is going to be my next challenge. So I’m going to do all the Googling that I can to find out what I need to do to get this business up and running. And yeah, that’s going to be my next project once I finish this degree.
Andy McLean: Ben and I have both been on that journey, haven’t we starting our own businesses? And I must say part of it is starting, you know, and you’ve done that, and that’s actually the biggest that’s the biggest step, isn’t it? But once you start, it’s amazing how things start to fall into place you. We talked about the serendipity of talking to different people and coming across different people. I believe with the drive that you’ve got, I’ve got no doubt whatsoever that you’ll get there, how you get there w e don’t quite know yet, but that will be the fun of finding out.
Marley: Yeah, that’s the that’s the part of challenge. I mean, I love the challenge. So that’s going to be my next, my next goal.
Ben McAlary: It’s all about that journey.
Marley: It is about that journey. Yeah, and it’s motivation. I think motivation is a big thing as well and passion as well. You know, if you’ve got passion for something, you don’t need to do anything that you know makes money. It’s all about doing something that you love, not feeling like you’re at work and it all falls into place. Hopefully that’s my idea anyway .
Andy McLean: What a beautiful note to end on. I thank you so much, Marley. I’ve really enjoyed having a chat with you today.
Marley: Thank you.
Ben McAlary: You’ve been listening to Cerebral Conversations, a podcast produced by Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
Andy McLean: To learn more, check out the show notes to this episode over at cerebralpalsy.org.au/cerebralconversations.
Ben McAlary: And if you enjoyed the show, please rate or review on your favourite podcast platform.
Andy McLean: And to join the conversation, follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Ben McAlary: Thanks again for listening!
The music for this podcast was kindly supplied by Ocean Alley. Check out the band’s music on Bandcamp or visit oceanalley.com.au
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