by Christian Burton (Langley, B.C.)
I take pride in my diverse ability. I am proud to be an athlete with Special Olympics. I am proud of the services I receive from CLBC. I am proud to work doing things that make me feel happy to be me.
But it can be difficult at times living with a diverse ability. It can be difficult when people only look at you as one thing, being disabled. This is especially hard when it comes to being independent and trying to make a difference in community.
In elementary school, I spent only 30 per cent of my time inside the resource room while the rest of my classmates were in regular classes. I worked on my studies with little to no adaptions. I did have an Educational Assistant to help me, including breaks when my stress and anxiety would get the better of me.
By high school things changed. I was put into the life skills program where, by mistake, I was kind of segregated from regular classes. In grade 9 they put me into grade 8 courses. I started to understand this placement was due to my disability. This was hard. Throughout those years I learned to advocate for myself and other students who didn’t like being segregated.
When I got older, I was proud to show my skills with photography, computer technology, and being able to comprehend more sociological thinking to problems.
Now, I am 23 years old. I’m a university student taking non-adapted courses. I’m going for my Faculty of Arts certificate and taking sociology classes. I’m also working for CLBC as a surveyor of employment services. I’m proud to be me.