Helping others with one-handed life hacks




Chiara with car keys in her hand
Chiara with car keys in her hand  

Chiara Beer used to hide her disabled right arm behind her back, afraid of receiving negative comments. But a brave decision one day inspired her to share her experience with the world and use it to help others too.

Chiara suffered a stroke aged two, leading to her developing dyslexia, the muscle disorder dystonia, and hemiplegia - a condition that causes weakness down her right side.

She would hide her disabled arm, afraid of receiving negative and hateful comments.

"It's OK to be different. My struggle was always that I looked different, which was quite a hard thing to deal with," she says.

But a photo - one she hadn't intended to upload at first because it showed her arm - started a journey towards her becoming a YouTuber and Instagram Reeler.

"I really liked the picture and couldn't redo it [to hide the arm]. So I thought 'let's post it'," Chiara tells BBC Newsbeat.

"Then I didn't get any nasty comments - I was getting questions."

Curious viewers asked Chiara a lot about how she performs certain tasks one-handed, such as putting on make-up and doing her hair.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ch2RGcro0EF/

Pretty soon, she was receiving encouragement to create more videos, and ended up posting about activities including drawing and cooking.

And, after seeing the success of those videos, she was more than happy to share her tips.

"Because ultimately, that's my goal: to live as independently as I can for myself," she says.

Now the 27-year-old makes videos for the charity Different Strokes, demonstrating life hacks for people who, like her, can only use one hand.

She's covered a range of topics from hair and fashion to make-up and jewellery.

"I really wanted to help people who are struggling with stroke or hemiplegia to find a way to do things," she says.

https://www.instagram.com/reel/Ci-V7LLoxna/

According to the charity, one in four strokes happen in younger people.

But Chiara says there wasn't much information available when she was a child.

She says she's received messages, both from parents who have children with hemiplegia and people who've had strokes later in life, saying her videos have helped.

"People have said: 'you've made me believe that my child can be independent, you've helped me think that my child will be OK'."

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Looking back, Chiara admits to being "really proud" at how far she's come.

"Had someone said to me, at 14, you're going to talk about your disability so openly, I would have been like: 'No, that's not happening'," she says.

But she has a message for her younger self and those in a similar position:

"Confidence comes with time, be more happy with yourself and more confident."

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