Note from the editor: Scott will be writing here regularly about transitioning to adulthood with a disability. Please feel free to ask him questions in the comments for ideas for future articles.
For a young person with a disability, becoming an independent adult can seem almost impossible at times. I know this first hand. I am twenty-seven years old, and was recently diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome, a genetic disorder with characteristics similar to Cerebral Palsy. I live with my parents, receive a disability pension from the government, and am currently waiting for accessible housing. Getting to this point required research, form-filling and lots of trial and error. I’m fairly independent and have two college certificates.
Since my early teens, I’ve become interested in disabilities and how I can use my experiences to help others in similar situations. At first, my involvement was purely social. I joined special needs athletics, like Taekwondo and sledge hockey. I attended a summer camp for disabled children, where I made many friends, some of whom later became college roommates. In high school, I was asked to sit on my area’s district council for Easter Seals as a youth representative.
As a youth representative, I was part of a group called the Leaders of Tomorrow. I spoke on behalf of Easter Seals Ontario about disability and accessibility awareness. When my time with Leaders of Tomorrow was over, I continued making presentations. Some were still on behalf of Easter Seals, but now I was frequently invited to speak on my own. Over time, I became more comfortable with talking about my experiences as a disabled youth transitioning into adulthood. I was now presenting to management at hospitals, classes at universities, and youth groups at summer camps. I’ve covered topics such as going from pediatric to adult healthcare, entering post-secondary education, getting a job, accessibility, invisible disabilities, and living independently.
Recently, I have been searching online for a way to share my message with a broader audience. I contacted Support for Special Needs, which seemed like the perfect place for me to start. Over the next couple of months, I will be writing a series of articles for the site based on my personal experiences, as well as helpful tips to make transitioning smoother.
After reading these articles, if anyone has any questions or topics they would like to me to discuss, please feel free to let me know.
Scott twenty-seven years old from Ottawa Canada. He is physically disabled, with Joubert Syndrome, a genetic condition similar to Cerebral Palsy. He has done a lot of public speaking about his disability, but this is Scott’s first time as a contributing writer regarding being adult with a disability.
He has a certificate in Scriptwriting, and hopes to ultimately end up working on a major science fiction television show. Right now, he is creating his own comic book with the hope that it will get published.
He lives with my parents and sister who are a great support, but are respectful enough to let him be independent whenever I’m able.