The measure of humanity
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The measure of humanity

Can you live on $1169 a month? Ontario’s Disability Support Program (ODSP) is designed to support disabled persons above 18 years of age. Qualifying for the program depends on medical and financial circumstances, and what is offered (max of $1169 a month) hardly meets basic living needs for most disabled persons. In the past year,…

The Sound of Community
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The Sound of Community

“Good morning, friends! It’s great to see so many faces today.” So begins the daily music singalong sessions with musician (and friend) Mendelt Hoekstra on Zoom. Mendelt creates connections for adults and youth with developmental disabilities across Ontario. Participants attend from their group homes, independent living dwellings and classrooms. Rachel and Janneke attend while at…

Unmaking fairytales
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Unmaking fairytales

When other children have asked me about Rachel and Janneke’s disabilities, I’ve often used the words, “Their bodies work differently from yours.” My intention in those situations has been to simply acknowledge the difference. But more recently, I’ve been reflecting on how we as adults interpret or even contrive differences. In the beginning “It is…

Out of step
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Out of step

On March 13, 1990, an eight-year-old girl, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, joined over 60 adults and families impacted by physical disabilities to crawl up the steps of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. without their mobility devices to physically demonstrate the inaccessible architecture and culture of America.  Living in an ableist culture My two youngest,…

The Washer Life
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The Washer Life

It’s 11 p.m., and I am headed to bed. Though it is suggested that the average family does eight to ten loads of wash each week (spruce.com), in our home, the washer and dryer run almost continuously throughout the day. Due to the specific nature of Rachel and Janneke’s needs, we average five loads a…

The kite lady
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The kite lady

I can say without reservation that flying our kite is Rachel’s favourite thing to do. Unleashed in the wind, the colourful fabric and long tail is eye-catching and mesmerizing. As often as possible, weather permitting, we drive Rachel and Janneke to The Spit. It’s a narrow tree-filled stretch of land alongside the Welland Canal that…