Nancy’s Journey

Hey everyone, my name is Nancy. I have spastic Cerebral Palsy. I currently walk with a walker. I had a pretty typical childhood up until about the age of eleven. I was in special education from first grade until fourth grade.

I was one of the first kids to be mainstreamed in 5th grade, until I graduated from high school being included was tough. I was not bullied. I was ignored. I studied to be an elementary and special education teacher in college.

I never had a job teaching in a school. I had lots of different jobs in the twenties or so years I worked. They were divided between customer service and counseling/advocacy for people with disabilities.

I grew up in suburban Chicago. As part of a park district recreation program, I went to two national sports competitions for people with Cerebral Palsy. The events I competed in were track and field, swimming and weight lifting. After that, with the same organization, I went to Colorado and learned sit-skiing. I loved Colorado so much that I got an internship with the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. I decided to stay in Colorado for a few years.

I followed someone I met in Colorado to Massachusetts, and lived in Boston for seven years or so. I met my husband at a concert, and we moved here to West Virginia.

From the day I left my parent's home to take the internship, I have been gaining confidence in my ability to handle life as an adult with a disability. That was thirty-one years ago. I do not necessarily advocate that people with disabilities move hundreds of miles away from their family and support system to gain their independence and confidence. That was my way of doing it. It worked for me.

For parents with kids with disabilities I want to say, "Please build them up". "Help them to be as independent and confident as they can be." "If you are fearful for your children, do your best NOT to let them see