Ryan’s story

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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.


31 Aug, 2013

10 thoughts on “Ryan’s story

  1. Very inspiring story. It just shows how people can overcome anything if they are determined enough. Hope you continue to succeed in life and fulfill your dream Ryan.

    1. Thanks Tim. I agree it is a wonderful read too. Ryan’s story shows determination and resilience.

      A truly inspirational story.

  2. Wow sounds a lot like what my daughter has been through and she has really been isolated from the world in many of the same ways!

    I have tried to help her with a lot of these things but due to battling my own personal demons I wasn’t always there as much as I should have been. I have had to watch her mother not really pushing her to do a lot of things that she needed to learn how to do, which was really sad. Very long story and I only wish I had been able to get beyond my resentments to help my daughter more!

    In any case I just had to congratulate Ryan on following through on all that he did, even under difficult circumstances! Kids can be so extremely cruel which I know a lot about since I was picked on a lot myself when I was young.

    My daughter gave up on so many things in her life and only now is really starting to look to expand her life. Keep up the great work and hope you’re able to follow your dreams!

    1. Thanks Randy. Given what Ryan already has achieved, I am sure he will continue. We just have to do our best as we can and when we can.

      Even though you never managed earlier on in your daughter’s life to encourage her with what she was dealing with, you always knew you wanted to and that matters.

  3. Hello everyone. Thank you for reading my story. I was told by my mentor that I should start posting in other blogs about my personal struggles with CP in school and life and I found Ilana’s blog.

    She’s an inspiration. I’ve never seen myself as an inspiration, although MANY people tell me I am.

    I just see myself like everyone else; someone who’s trying to better his life by working hard academically so I can have my own car and my own place to live someday.

    1. Thanks Ryan. I think inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Depending on what we have to deal with, could make even the smallest of things we deal with inspirational and that in itself is inspirational.

      No one knows what someone else will go through just to make one small thing inspirational. Generally I would say continue to give of your best, stay focused so that you continue to be what you can be.

      Perhaps one day you can come back and let us know how you get on.

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