I have been contacted by a young man called Ryan and was very touched by his story and would like to share it with you all.
My name is Ryan and I’m 31 years old. I was supposed to be born on April 18 1982 but instead was born January 24 1982. I weighed 1 lb 15.5 ounces. My brain haemorrhaged at birth and I almost died. At 2 months old, I had a ventricular shunt placed in my brain to drain the CSF from my brain. I had surgery later to remove it from the right side to the left side. The doctors told my mom I would never walk or talk, that I would just be a vegetable. I’m not a vegetable; I can walk just fine.
I was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy at age 3, at which time I began to talk with a stutter. My mom noticed when I scooted along the floor that my right leg would be bent like a triangle touching my left leg, which was in the straight position. She felt something wasn’t right with the way I was trying to learn to crawl so she sent me to the doctor and he diagnosed me.
Growing up was extremely difficult for me. I was picked on relentlessly because I walked with a limp and stutter. The fingers on my right hand curl under. I received Special Education services from the time I was in first grade up until I graduated high school in 2001. I was in speech therapy throughout my grammar school career to help with my stutter. My peers called me retarded, stupid and bow legged. They chased me home from school, at which time I would sit in my room and cry. I had no friends. My only friend was the piece of paper I wrote short stories and poems upon. I would sit in my room for hours at my desk and just write. The bullying went away, the teasing; the torment; the tears; it all just disappeared.
I taught myself to type in elementary school by typing paragraphs out of a novel every day. I can type up to 50 wpm. I obtained my driver’s license in 2002 at the age of 20. I drove for 4 years before I had to stop but now am driving myself to class. At age 24, I moved out of my parents’ house and learned to live independently and had a job for 2 years.
Up until 2002, my entire life that I was in school, my dream was to be a writer, a novelist. I wanted to write books. I was 21 when I enrolled in community college and was taking Psychology and Sociology classes. Sitting in Psychology class I thought to myself, what am I doing? I don’t belong here. I failed out of the classes and didn’t go back until 2006. This time I had a different dream. I wanted to work with kids who had disabilities.
From summer 2006-May 2012 I took classes with the Human Services program. I graduated from community college on May 24, 2012 with an Associate’s Degree in Human Services with a concentration in Developmental Problems. I’m enrolled in an Occupational Therapy Assistant program at another community college. My goal is to give school aged kids with disabilities, the tools needed to be independent and to inspire them to become more than what society says they can be.
Writing is my passion but somehow I don’t see a career in it for me. It’s my greatest strength. What I love about writing is that it allows me to be very creative and it inspires people or makes them think about things they didn’t think about before. I would love nothing more than to write for a magazine made for people with disabilities and inspire them with my writing.
Thanks for putting blogs out there like yours. I’m glad I’m not alone.