Claudia Tecglen, entrepreneur: "Disability and talent coexist naturally"

Claudia Tecglen was born on September 12, 1986, three and a half months ahead of schedule, 900 grams of life that doctors told her parents would be a “vegetable”. Some smiles and some tears made her parents not believe in the diagnosis and they fought to give her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, the best care, treatment and schools. Her life has been full of obstacles, but starting at age 16, when she had a medical device implanted near her hip that delivers medicine to the spinal cord, everything changed. She was able to wear shoes for the first time and wanted the opportunity to help more people. In 2008, she founded Convives con Espasticidad, an association that has the objective of “taking away from chance and misinformation the opportunity to limit a life.” This year she has been distinguished with the Princess of Girona Foundation (FPdGi) Awards, along with four other women, for her social impact by promoting equal opportunities in her actions and for her “exemplarity as an inspiring model and reference for other young people ”.

“I am thankful for having found my vital purpose”, affirms this Madrilenian. The lack of oxygen to the brain at birth caused her to suffer from infantile cerebral palsy with an associated motor disorder called spasticity. She had problems getting wanted in some school because they did not understand that her disability was not cognitive. At three years old she already spoke and at five she struggled with English. At 12, she had surgery on her knee, hip and abductors and when all her friends thought of skirts and shoes, she endured intense pain with half her body in a cast. “I had a very bad time. The operation was very good for me on a physical level, but in the middle of adolescence, comparing myself with my friends, it was a very hard time on a psychological and physical level, ”she says. Although she doesn’t like to remember it, she admits: “I lost the will to live.” But she immediately remembers her, visibly moved: “A hug from my four-year-old little brother made me rediscover hope and enthusiasm for life.”

Claudia lives with pain. She “she You can live with spasticity but not with pain. Both must be treated and relieved to have quality of life, ”she assures. Nor did she have an easy secondary school, nor a selectivity, which she had to repeat because there were no adaptations planned for her. But she found great complicity in the UNED. She takes medication daily, but her hope is as intense as the green color of the clothes she wears today. And she has something clear: “No one can sentence the life of a person, to be a great professional you must first be a good person.”

He considers that his life has been characterized “by strokes of luck.” “Lucky to be born in Madrid, in a family with possibilities, that they realized that she was not going to be a vegetable, that her parents fought for her”, and lucky to have found teachers, doctors and friends along the way. She is a strong defender of education: “It is what allows us to be independent”, she defends. She believes that “we must transform the educational system, focus on the process and the person, personalize it and not only on the objectives, because there is a lot of talent that falls by the wayside due to a rigid system.”

She is a lecturer, psychologist, strategic and communication consultant specializing in NGOs, and combines all of this with physiotherapy and scheduled surgeries every six years. On her Twitter, she defines herself as a “dreamer who wants to take on the world.” Now, with the FPdGi award, she feels that it is “a great opportunity to make visible that disability and talent coexist naturally”. It wants to contribute to raising awareness that “disability can affect anyone and we must ensure that we build a world in which no one is left behind, neither because of disability, nor race, nor sex, nor age, nor for socioeconomic reasons”. Her association is focused on “active coping.” “We provide people with psychological strategies to have greater mental strength and accept their limitations, recognize their talents and be happy with their circumstances. We cannot always change the facts, but we can choose our attitude towards them and happiness is an attitude that is also learned, ”she points out.

He believes that public administrations must be aware that people with disabilities can be productive. “We must promote a society in which whoever can contribute with their work does so, even if it is telecommuting, a great tool for inclusion,” he indicates. With the award, he hopes to “launch a message of hope and optimism to people and families –there are no people with disabilities, there are families–”. He also wants to “build greater bridges to ensure that disability is not the protagonist and that these people live life, as Sinatra said, in his way.”

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