Belfast Telegraph

Filmmaker Phoebe Lyle turns her focus on experiences of disabled

By Cate McCurry

A teenager who was left paralysed from the neck down after a hit-and-run has launched a project aimed at tackling disability prejudice.

Phoebe Lyle from Bangor is making a seven-minute documentary based around her story and how people living with a disability are treated in society.

As part of her A-level moving image arts class, the 19-year-old's project will feature interviews with a number of employers and one of her carers, as well as recreating the collision that dramatically changed her life.

Phoebe was just three when she was horrifically injured in the hit-and-run while on holiday in Spain with her family.

She was not expected to live after her body was hurled 40 feet in the air.

She landed on her head, sustaining severe injuries to her spinal cord.

Phoebe said she wanted the interviews, which include one with Independent News and Media NI managing director Richard McClean, to show how the needs of disabled people are being met in the workplace.

"I also want the documentary to demonstrate what having a disability is like in today's society, and how people like myself are to be treated in the workplace," she explained.

"I want to help everyone have a better understanding of disabled people, and hopefully understand that there is a person behind the disability.

"I want to show people that I strive to do exactly what others want to do and that I have ambitions, and I am not using a disability as a barrier."

A talented artist, Phoebe learned to paint with her mouth and is able to study using a chopstick to operate a wireless keyboard.

She has been writing plays since the age of five and also writes poetry, most of which she publishes on her popular Facebook page.

The self-confessed tomboy said she loved playing video games and uses social media to connect with others.

She added: "I don't usually tell people I meet online that I have a disability, not right away.

"I want them to like me for what I am doing, not because they feel sorry for me."

The determined teen, who has two full-time carers, also enjoys socialising with her friends at the weekends and is taking driving lessons.

She will soon sit a driving test to enable her to use an electric wheelchair, which she says will give her more independence to do many other things.

After completing her A-levels, Phoebe plans to study film and theatre making or broadcast production at Queen's University in Belfast.

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