Accessibility, Advocacy, Canada, Cerebral Palsy, Education, Inclusion, Inspiration, Love, Our Son, Parenthood, Sebastian at School, The things people say, Therapy, Toronto

Keep Fighting

  
I met a 52 year old woman today. She introduced herself to me after I made sure she had enough space to see the musicians at the Day of the Dead celebrations at Evergreen Brickworks. We had biked there so had the double chariot which is kind of a monster in small spaces. I had Seb on my lap to dance a bit to the music. When Tallula and Ali went to join the line dancing she rolled up to me and told me she had cerebral palsy. She wanted to tell me about Conductive Education and how it has really helped her (as a therapy) in the past 5 years since she had started. 

We chatted for a bit and I eventually started to cry. She told me that the doctors told her parents to put her in an institution and forget about her. But that things were better now, more inclusive. I partially agreed and brought up school. We talked about Seb’s current school and she too had gone there. She said they were great at the physical therapy part but not so much in the scholarly department. She left at 14 with a 5th grade education. She went on to a neighbourhood school and caught up 3 years of missed education in one year and eventfully went on to college and now works for the government in a very good job. She told me her mom fought to get her into a regular school and then fought to get her one-on-one assistance. She told me that once you find a principal willing to help you there’s no going back, just forward. Then she said, ‘Never stop fighting. Your son will only get in this world what you fight for him to have. Don’t give up. He will love you and appreciate you like no other.’ This is where I cried. 

Because I know it’s true. 

He will not get the equal education he deserves if I don’t fight for it. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. And one reason why it’s been so quiet around here.  

She went on to talk about her housing which has 24 hour assistance so she can live independently. She introduced me to her friends, met in college and now like family. We talked about therapy some and independence. How she had discovered Conductive Ed after her mom had a stroke and her dad found it for rehab for her. I took her email and hopefully we will meet again for coffee. She wanted to make sure she wasn’t overstepping her boundaries and assured me she knew I probably did all sorts of things but couldn’t help sharing how this therapy had helped her. I told her how great it is to get her perspective because I don’t really know what Sebastian is thinking. Mostly, I hope she knows how much our conversation helped me. More fuel for my fire. For our fight. 

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