Coming to terms with my disability
I graduated from Winnacunnet High School in 2006. The last couple of years have been amazing. Little did know that I know that my post-high school experiences would be life-changing. I have been living on my own in Exeter since 2008 and I have great group of friends who have had a lot of the same experiences as me.
Having a disability has made me a better person. Coming to terms with it took me a few years. I was able to do this with the have the help of two fantastic programs. I took The New Hampshire Leadership Series in 2008. I also took The Parent Information Center Volunteer Advocacy course in 2010. Both of these courses were emotionally draining for me, but I was able to do these programs because of the support of my parents. For the first time my life finally began to make sense.
With each conference and workshop I was able to have a better understanding of myself. Most people my age tend to move forward with college or employment. For me it was different. I did not want to be 30 or 40 years old asking my aging parents what happened to me when I was a kid. I felt that it was necessary to do the work on myself instead.
Growing up with special health care needs that included having an oxygen tank and a feeding tube took a lot of work. It was not exactly your typical childhood. I did manage to keep my spirits up even during my darkest days. I was a special education student who was pulled out of the classroom in order to learn. I had my own math program until the eighth grade. It was hard for me to learn at times, but I was getting the supports I needed and I loved going to school.
Everything in my life has taken a bit longer. It was only when I became an adult that I came to understand my developmental disability. People who have developmental disabilities continue to experience the effects of having a disability even into their adult years. This can make their later lives very difficult in terms of accepting their own limitations as well as being accepted by their communities.
These days I am getting a few services and support from One Sky Services agency. Even though it’s only a little bit, I am OK with it. It shows me I am able to do a lot of things.
I never thought that I would be spreading the word about the importance of advocacy through my writings, but it seems it was meant to be this way.
Cordelia lives in Exeter. She is involved in advocacy work for people with developmental disabilities across the state. She has met a lot of people who share her passion for gaining recognition and respect for people who have disabilities.