To Forever Wonder
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To Forever Wonder

Recently, I took Rachel and Janneke for their yearly visit to our paediatric neurologist at McMaster Children’s Hospital. Visits like this are long, but the length is intentional. We make time to review everything about the girls – emotional, physical and developmental. Though I need a large coffee in hand, I appreciate the comprehensive family-centred…

Hidden cousins
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Hidden cousins

When I came to retrieve Janneke from school at the end of her first week, three of her classmates were with her. They chattered excitedly and asked, “Is Janneke coming to the back-to-school BBQ tonight?” I loved the interaction with Janneke’s classmates because it illustrated two things: Janneke matters to them, and the perspective they…

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…

In the valley of the shadow of covid
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In the valley of the shadow of covid

Severe pain radiated from the left side of my chest. My lungs felt scraped raw; two rib joints were so swollen they protruded like giant knuckles. “It’s just inflammation from your body fighting covid. There’s nothing we can do,” the attending doctor said, after several tests had normal results. “Go home and rest. Take Advil.”…

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…

The disability camp that started a revolution
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The disability camp that started a revolution

“This camp changed the world, and nobody knows the story.”  So begins co-director and narrator Jim LeBrecht in the opening scenes of Crip Camp. A critically lauded award-winning documentary film directed by LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, Crip Camp tells the story of a summer camp and its impact on the disability revolution in the United…