My name is Janie, and I am 13 years
old. I have a very rare illness called spondyloepimetaphyseal dysplasia.
I just started my first year in high
school. I am in a programme called the International Education
Programme. In this school, I have two special education technicians who
help me as needed. They help me carry my school bag, and one of them is
in my gym class to make sure I do only what I can do and no more. I
have some adaptations at my disposal, such as a small footstool in the
toilet, a smaller locker, and shelves within my reach. I have Tripp
Trapp chairs in all classrooms, and one of the microwaves in the
cafeteria is lower for me to reach it. Also, I use a scooter to get
around the major corridors.
I do not have many friends because I
choose people who love me for who I am and not for what distinguishes
me. Also my best friend moved far away, so at first I was alone, but it
did not take long before I made new friends.
To go to school, I use Paratransit, a
special transport service run by the STM (Société de transport de
As an extracurricular activity, I play
the clarinet in a Harmonie band.
In any case, I am sure that with or
without my scooter, there are people in the school who are not very
nice, and when it happens, I explain to them why I need it. Sometimes
they understand and if not, I ignore those who bother me.
Finally, I love my life even though
sometimes I wonder why it had to happen to me. Even if I am different,
I do not stop living because there are people around me who appreciate
me for who I am.
Janie R., February 2009