By Michelle Goos on July 19, 2013
I felt like a regular kid, until I started school. School has always been a struggle for me and there was little support outside a special education classroom when I was a kid. One of my most clear memories was being mad at my sister who could read at age 4; I was always so jealous of her. I really struggled with making friends at school and often felt like I was being bullied.
In grade 7, my family moved from Mission to Abbotsford and things seemed to get a bit better. I found joy hanging out at a local roller-rink, but still found it hard to make friends. My parents joined a group to advocate for more support for students in the classroom. When I started high school, it felt like I was back in grade one. I was even allowed to walk the stage at Graduation. I did find places where I felt included. I volunteered with the local TV station where I learned how to operate the camera and audio equipment. I started to go to church where I met people that are still my friends today. I did work, but it was all seasonal work and hard to hold onto.
My mom was watching CHEK TV and saw an ad for Victoria Vocational College, so we called them about their programs. I started in January of 1993. My sister was attending University in Victoria at the time and helped me find a place to live and learn the bus routes. I had never been on my own, so everything was so new. The college closed after 6 months. I moved to Sooke and worked in a friend’s coffee shop while attending Camosun College, but it did not work out and moved back to Victoria. It was again hard for me to make friends and I felt disconnected.
By the time our daughter was in grade 3, it was clear that she would need more support in the classroom at school. As a student with special needs, she also found it very hard to make friends at a young age. She is now in grade nine and things seem to be better for her. She is a strong minded girl and we will be with her every step of the way to help her plan for the future.