Today before we get started, I would like to acknowledge and respect and honor our First Nations whose traditional territory operates on school, District eight, and all the people residing within the boundaries. The school district eight.
I would like to give a huge thank you to all the staff in school District eight. Little things make the biggest difference in people’s lives.
Welcome to my workshop, Alexis’s Journey, Learning about Inclusion for all today. We are again honored to be here on behalf of people living with diverse abilities and supporting world inclusion month, or world inclusion month is October, by the way. So we are honored to be here and I’d like to introduce my co-host Ashley, who has been, who has engaged in public speaking. Since 2015 now. So yeah, she enjoys horse riding much like myself, which you’ll hear about later in the slides.
Okay. Hi everyone. As Alexis said, my name is, Ashley, I work for the Rick Hanson Foundation and so yeah, we’re gonna be here today presenting to you all and we’re just asking that if you have questions, feel free to engage with us, cuz we’d love to hear from you. And at least for me, no question is off of the table.
So don’t feel like you’re going to offend or like, ugh. Please ask. That’s why we’re here. We want to have those conversations with you. , a little bit about me is I also have Cerebral Palsy . I walk with a cane who my students have affectionately named Patrick. I work as an education assistant in a private school in Surrey, and before that I rode horses for the Canadian Paralympic team in the sport of dressage.
So I represented Canada in big in 2008, in London in 2012, and Rio in 2016 before I retired. And now I play with kids all day and am an ambassador for Rick Hanson. Right to play. That’s a little bit about me. I’ll hand it back to Alexis. Explain what an ambassador does, please, actually, before we move on.
Yeah, absolutely. So essentially I am here to answer your questions and I’m here to talk about inclusion and accessibility for all and sort of help you dig out your thoughts and ways in which you can include. Everyone in your classrooms or communities, regardless of whether they walk, roll, or in my case, wobble.
I’m just here to be a face to say like, I know you have questions and maybe there’s some fear or doubt or uncertainty, and we’re just here to be like, Please ask. Let us help you in the ways that we can. Awesome. Introduction, Ash. Thanks.
To today, we are going to explore the following topics and we’re really gonna look at learning about what the bear, my barriers to inclusion and accessibilities, tips for inclusive in the classroom, facts about disabilities and my story. And then I’m gonna teach you how you maybe can help the students.
Live a good life and see them succeed to their fullest potential.
In August, I met with Brittny Anderson and MLA Dan Colter, who gave me the following information. 22% of BC’s population lives with the disability according to the World Health Organization. 15% of the world’s population lives with a disability and October is BC is inclusion Month and October is BC inclusion Month.
A little about me. I love baking. I was born at Edmonton, Alberta. I was born three, three months premature with cerebral palsy, which caused me to have a brain bleed cause they took me off oxygen too soon. ,my sister was fortunately from my sister, the doc, the doctors learned from this and did not take my sister off oxygen.
So she does not have Cerebral Palsy
fun facts about me. I love baking, getting my hands dirty. I love school and never want to miss a class. I have a podcast teaching. teaching others about inclusion and accessibility. I am determined. I have gone dog Dog sledding, which basically was the fundraiser that started the whole idea of what does really mean to me is accessibility and inclusion to me?
Why is it important and what do I need to do to my reach accomplishing my next steps? Then started the journey of the podcast. I’m determined I have weighter. I am visually impaired. I would like to work in the medical field.
What is cerebral palsy? Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability discovered in childhood, up to, for up to age three. Cerebral palsy affects the muscles used to maintain balance and good posture.
Specific obstacles to me,
Walking and getting around. I use a posterior walker, which means you pull it behind you, which means I sometimes run into walls. Which you can imagine would be pretty difficult to navigate a classroom with tables and chairs and a way to success and learning. My, my, my, my best learning technology that I had discovered was online programs like Orbit Note and stuff like that, so it allows.
The independence so that I can work independently without relying on somebody else. Cause relying on somebody else’s pointless cause you’re not always gonna have people there for you to rely on, and I feel pretty fantastic when I do learn by myself. I feel more accomplished when I do it myself rather than some somebody else assisting me when needed its OK for someone to step in and provide help to me for me.
Vision. Difficulties. It is really a struggle for me to use my eyes all day at school and come home and have enough energy to pursue daily life activities, like going to ot, going to pt, so I have to make different adapt patients. I prefer a larger print. I prefer higher contrast. I may use a video magnifi to make things bigger, accepting my differences and the feeling of burnout.
Ashely do you have an example for burnout? Yes. Yeah. So often, um, people with cerebral palsy end like a lot of. Of physical disabilities. I’m like, we are using three times as much energy, um, to do the things that you are doing. So walking, getting up, carrying something, thinking, it’s just, I, I say that my body is full of bad wiring and short circuits, and so my brain can send a message to my feet, but maybe 50% of the time it properly gets there.
And so, yeah, just to be aware. , Um, when you see a student or anyone really kind of hitting that wall, uh, to know that, like that as mu, that’s as much as I have in my tank. So even just saying, Oh, take a short break, or like, that might not work for everyone. So just being aware of the little red flags that pop up and, and being willing to sort of go down a different path or take a pause helps a lot with burnout.
Yes. And for some people they don’t like to show their burnout because they love school and they wanna continue learning. But sometimes they get home at the end of the day and go, Wow, I really should’ve taken a break. So encouraging people to do things even when they don’t wanna stop working cause they love learning is the best way to deal with watch for feeling with burnout.
last July, I had to stand in front of town council to make my school more accessible. So here we are standing in front of town council advocating, presenting my letter to make my school more accessible. And one of the things, highlights that’s on the agenda is to make an school, the school more inclusive and accessible to me, which meant a lot.
Meant that I was actually able to open up the bathroom cuz they put the electric doors on the bathroom. And that was really helpful. And I had to write a letter and push and within a month, council approved that.
Let me tell you a story when I was younger, The focus was too often on what I couldn’t do until my parents discovered the benefit to therapeutic writing and thought, Well, that might be worth a try. And so horse riding really made me change my perspective and made me open up to the world and think about what limitless potential meant to me.
And how with their, how letting your disability out to the world is sometimes an advantage, if that makes sense.
And today, I will be playing a little bit of my podcast for you, just so you can get a sense of what really happened. This changed my whole entire perspective and really helped me to know that there’s other people out there who struggle. It really made me feel less isolated.
Shawn, Who is Shawn ? Shawn Marlay is a founder, the founder of Blind Beginning Beginnings it was very inspirational to me cuz her outlook on life was something that I really thought, Hmm, I wanna carry this through in life. So her inspiration on life helped me pick up, I picked it up really well cuz she really shows it and it reflects off her well.
Her inspiration in life and she sh she really showed that she cared and wanted to share it with people with disabilities.
Next slide. Sorry. Alexis, if you want us to play the, The clips? Yes. Okay.
I’m in my forties. I grew up with a visual impairment. I was diagnosed when I was five with retinitis pigmentosa, which is a degenerative eye condition. Um, so throughout my childhood I could kind of see a little but not great. Um, but I didn’t actually know that I was legally blind until I was 12. Um, I’m today a registered counselor.
I am a non-profit, um, leader, and I’m a mother and I’m a retired Paralympic athlete, so I’m, I think a multilayered person. awesome that. Listening to her she really made my outlook, her outlook on life really shined a light on now my light, light to my outlook on my life and my heart. So that’s what, why that was so meaningful to me in order to show it to you.
Um, so there are some barriers, but, but really, truly the biggest barrier for me was myself believing that I couldn’t do stuff. So once I started realizing that I could, or that I had to at least allow myself to try it before I decided that I couldn’t, everything kind of changed. So, you know, I became an athlete and um, I applied to work abroad.
I went to England to work at a school for the blind where I knew nobody. I was there for six months. That was probably the biggest limitless thing that I faced, was just like, Okay, I’m gonna go far away from all of my support system and live by myself. And, and it was so, it was so scary, but it was so amazing.
So I’ve traveled quite a bit, um, as an athlete as well. And, and then starting my nonprofit, it was like quitting my job to, to do a thing again that I didn’t really know how to do, but was passionate about. So, And becoming a mother is another one. I think that was, Whew. That was tough. I mean, it still is
He’s only eight. So yeah, I feel like definitely the second half of my life I’ve been, I’ve been sort of embracing that there are limitless possibilities and I wanna have as many opportunities and experiences as I can. Right. So many people don’t understand how how much abilities people with disabilities do have.
And the fact that she is a nonprofit organizer, she really makes me see my future leading as a nonprofit leader as well. Eventually, I wanna start a nonprofit supporting people with disabilities.
Here’s the second one for you. Who is Marco? Marco is inspirational speaker, accessibility consultant and entrepreneur. He’s very meaningful to me because him and I look at each other and reflect, reflect back on when we were younger and how we used to see life differently and how. we’re both presenting to the world and this one was meaningful to me because he actually has cerebral palsy and is an inclusion specialist.
So this one shows you a bit about how, how adapting PE doesn’t have to mean carving out our whole program. It just has to be a slip funnel adjustment.
When I was in high school and we were in PE class, one of my favorite, um, sports, I, you would say, or activities to play was dodge ball. And this is simply because the activity was modified for me in a way that I could be, feel like I was involved and that I wasn’t to be seen as somebody different. So, The only thing the teacher had to do is said, Okay, well if Marco wants to play dodge ball, then we’ll just make a subtle adjustment.
And that means, so if he’s playing and somebody throws the ball at him, it only counts if you hit him in the body, not in the wheelchair. So of course, this meant that I was the first person chosen on every team so that they could use me as the official shield to block all of the balls, right? . But the cool thing about this is that now I was being actually, Actively sought after my fellow colleagues and my peers to be a part of their team.
And I was actually allowed to take some of the balls and store them in the spokes of my wheels so that I could kind of, he have easier to store the balls instead of having them on my lap and trying to wheel store them in my spokes so I could kind of unload on people. And that was so fun for me. I still have memories to this day of being able to be involved in that way.
And it was simply because the teacher made a very subtle adjustment to the rules. So that I could be involved. And so I hope that in hearing this podcast today, other teachers, if they’re listening, they can be inspired in the fact that you don’t have to carve out a ti entire special program for somebody who identifies as having a disability, but rather making subtle changes can go a long way so that you can get involved with everyone regardless of their.
Next slide. Brianna. Brianna shares kind of the similar story, but Brianna was very meaningful to me cause she was a huge support when I was in rehab. , had to spend six weeks away from school, which really stressed me out. And was, was a little bit frustrating cause I I dislike having to catch up on schoolwork cuz it puts me behind. I like to be a good student and keep on top of things. So here’s Brianna.
Are there any sports or activities that you would like to be participate in? Well, I think for sports and activities, they’ve always been a challenge, especially dealing with CMT and not being able to, you know, jump really high and stuff. But I’d really like to do stuff like basketball, badminton, baseball, volleyball, maybe some swimming stuff.
I really enjoy. Awesome. How do they adapt basketball so you can play well? I’ve heard of, um, wheelchair basketball, which I’ve tried, but I think the thing that I enjoy more is when they lower down the baskets so they’re easier for me to shoot a hoop instead of having to find that distance to jump up and then shoot.
So that was Brianna,
and this is Lexi. Lexi was totally, totally, I don’t wanna say able bloody living life. And then one day she was out in the woods. Got a tick bite and ended up with Lyme disease and her whole life has changed. And so now her and I can relate to very many circumstances in life about feeling burnt out, feeling over stimulated.
So that’s why the is meaningful to share
and life and play, you know, in your life. So, yes, totally. Lexi, can you please tell us how it feels to be exhausted all the time? It overstimulated by nor, uh, frustrating. Very frustrating, I would say, to say the least. My nature is very outgoing and you know, I’m, I like to be upbeat and silly and, you know, have a good time and take care of everybody. So for me, having this change and being exhausted and not being able to handle. Certain noises or not being able to think well when certain noises are happening can be really frustrating whether I’m out with friends and I’m not able to critically think to how to get a ride home because there’s too much stimulus on and I kind of go into a bit of a freeze state or something. Just really simple. You know, family, family dinner and not being able to be outgoing and super positive because you know, kids are running around and dishes are banging, and I get really frustrated that I just can’t be who I want to be in that moment. And I think probably underneath that frustration is quite a bit of like sadness, right? That I didn’t choose this. Life in that way. Like I didn’t choose this illness and it can affect me and cause me to make, have to make different choices in my life. I don’t mean to laugh.
Uh, the reason why I said I don’t mean to laugh is because that’s so true. Like that’s that’s good to hear on a podcast. Cause. Some people with disabilities don’t really wanna be that vulnerable, which I appreciated about Lexi. She was vulnerable. She was very and made feel like I could relate,
, Yes. Okay. An attitudinal barrier is essentially, I mean, lots of things that we as wobbly people face all of the time is when you look at me, you can see that I walk differently than you. I walk with a cane and it is very apparent that I, at least to me, that I didn’t, I’m not just, I didn’t sprain my ankle.
So people assume, make assumptions. Because I was born with a disability. I have this like sad life and I have no fun and there’s lots of, Oh, there seems to be this pity side of things and it you want to say to people like, I know it looks like I’m struggling and. Some days and many days I am, but that’s true for every human right.
You can just see my struggle on the outside, and yours is happening in different spheres of your life. It’s happening on the inside of you. And so the fact that everyone struggles is a human thing. And so I usually like to say like, yes. I have a hard time walking, but my life has been beautiful. Like I, I have skydive and skied and bungee jumped, and I’ve been to 24 different countries on the back of a horse and other places, and I have a beautiful community and friends and a full-time job and, Volunteer and so to, to just see me and think sadness and, and that everything is hard and a struggle is something that you want to sort of like shake out of people.
Like, Please, please have a conversation with me. Get to know me. Ask me questions like, you know, I wrote a book. Read the book, please. Like, because I know you want to know and I want to tell you. And so yeah, we’re just facing attitudinal barrier.
An attitudinal barrier to me is something an A person unintentionally does that makes you feel sad or down about your disability. So of saying if somebody says, Oh, Alexis, you’re so brave to do that rollercoaster. I say, It’s part of life. I’m just living my life with a disability. My one easily recommended tip to decrease attitudinal barriers is just to please make sure you ask the students if they need help, and make sure you, if you’re planning an event outside of classroom, make sure if you let them know and they can tell you if it’s accessible to them or not, and if they even wanna. And just when walking, just leave at least five to 10 minutes between being the whole class, walking down the hallway and being. One person. Cause sometimes when we, as people with disabilities walk down the hallway, we have to take the whole hallway and we don’t wanna feel like we’re being trampled and run over by a whole bunch of people.
If I’m sure how to refer to people with disabilities, please. There’s nothing more worse than somebody saying, Oh, you’re just a disabled human being. And I prefer to be recognized as Alexis, but human being has a great life and goes to school proudly.
Next slide. Inclusion & access accessibility. Accessibility has been a big barrier of mine. I’ve actually had to do a lot of advocacy with my most school and some, some areas like the hallway, the bathrooms, the hallway, the bathrooms. Getting into medical appointments have been so inaccessible. I’ve had to. Had to ask for them to change.
So my message to anybody who’s struggling with this is feel if you feel it’s right, do it. If you feel advocacy is right, do it. And don’t sit there and suffer and not be able to do things in life you wanna do cause you’re not reaching your goals. Mobility. I struggle with moving fast enough and processing information that is sometimes overstimulating to have somebody move your hands for you. And some days it’s too fast and other days your brain just goes, Well, I really like this. Keep going. And some days your brain is like, Uh, this is over. Go into overstimulation mode, if that makes sense. Ash, maybe you wanna clarify. Some mobility or accessibility for sure. So, yeah, again, as Alexis said, it’s definitely, it doesn’t always have to be this big expensive, like we need to build a new building or, um, accessibility.
Inclusion can be simple and small and, uh, you can look around and say, Hey, if we just shoved this this way, or made this door this way, or if we looked at these lights, like if you are just. Stopped and looked around and thought, okay, if I was sitting in a wheelchair or using a cane or blind, like if you tried to step into someone’s shoes, You would for sure start to think like them and see the world like them and yeah, my message would be, it just doesn’t always have to be this like multimillion dollar solution.
It can be simple and have huge impact. Not just for the wobbly ones in your classrooms, but the entire school community or community at large. Yes. And mobility too, actually wanna clarify. That piece. Um, in what sense? Sorry, Alexis, do you, do you wanna just reiterate what I said in case it Oh yeah. So mobility again, can be different for everyone who has a disability depending on what part of your.
Body is affected. So again, it’s just, as Alexa said, it’s all about asking questions. I’d rather you ask me, uh, Hey, is this okay? Or, I was thinking, we’re about to go on a 10 kilometer hike. Do you feel like you wanna do that? Or Can we drop you off at the top in the gondola so that you can still, uh, join us on the field trip?
We, we’d love for you to come, or, you know, like, I’ve been caving with. Students in my classroom and how did I go caving? I made sure that like a friend of mine came with me who was lit. I was like, literally like, You are going to be dragging me through a cave. And then the place that was like working at the cave, they gave me like one worker.
So I got through the cave with my group of people, but was also able to do it with my classroom. So yeah, just ways of like thinking outside the box. I would encourage. Yes. And Sundays planning takes a whole lack of a lot of energy cuz we, as people with disabilities, always have to plan and prepare and it takes a lot of energy.
So when you think about people, students, I want you to think that. As much energy as it takes you, times that by three or four, and that’s how much energy the person with a disability is stretching outta their tank to do the activity. So it’s gotta be really meaningful to them.
Number one tip. Ways to assist people with disabilities to promote success. Inclusively not, not. Nobody deserves to be looked down at or to feel like they’re having a conversation towards somebody else’s lower body. They deserve to have eye contact. If they can’t make eye contact, please do your best to accommodate them, whether.
Not standing up, sitting in a chair and enjoying life. Please consider the following adaptations. Consider how people, when talking about physical education, please consider how people move, what they need to do, how they need to. To make adaptations, to make it simpler for them so they can actually enjoy and enjoy spending time with their classmates and not feel so, feel so like, this isn’t my community.
Why should I be even in here?
Always adjust to the strengths of the person and the needs. So again, I’d really like to reinforce that everyone has different needs and that’s totally fine, but always just be willing to be open and have those conversations with students and just don’t do it in front of the class, but do it with them ahead of time so they can process what you’re saying before they make a decision.
Make sure that they’re, make sure that you, you do your best to make the websites, the accessible formats, accessible as possible. So that could be making it larger, making it a pdf, making. A Google form making it, making sure there’s space in between the desks and no obstacles in the hallway and no obstacles to the way to success either cause nobody likes that.
thank you to my Meeting Mighty People supporters. Thank you as well to the Rick Hanson Foundation School Program. Sofeya Melissa Lyon , Ashely Goawlock Galock, and Marco Pasqua
this is you, Ashley. Ready. So I’m just gonna jump in and give you the spiel, spiel about the Rick Henson Foundation. We have, um, ambassador programs, as Alexis said. So we have people with diverse abilities that can come into your classroom and talk with your kids about, , their, their journey as a person with a disability. Then we kind of engage them and, okay, if you were me, how would we. Solve these problems in the school. We also have a ton of resources. You as a teacher, to sort of, how can I bring the ideas of accessibility and inclusion for all into my classroom? Uh, there’s webinars, there’s just, we have things coming out of our ears, so please, if you are like, How do I get this in my classroom? Or, This is what I was thinking, Do you have anything else that could help me do that? Please reach out to us. We would love to help. Do you have your contact information on the slide? I can definitely put it in the chat if that’s necessary. All right. Yeah, I’ll do that right now. Questions, now it’s your turn to ask questions.
And Alexis, would you mind if, do you want the questions in the chat or would you, are you okay with people just put their hands up one, one at a time? Okay. So you could put your hands up if, if you have any questions. Yeah, and if I’m answering question, just put it in the chat. Well, I talked to the other person and I think we’ll get back to.
Okay. So if you have questions for Alexis, um, you can put your hand up and, and I think that Alexis can, uh, you can see the hands. Um, Yeah, but you gotta stop sharing. Yeah. And if, Yeah. So if you have questions, put up your hand, uh, and then Alexis will get.
Hi, Karen. Hi. Yes. Um, I can’t find myself. Well, there I am, . Uh, so I’m just wondering, when you look back at, you’re now in grade 10, and when you look back at your whole school, all of your school years, is there something that stands out to you as being like, what would be your favorite example of teachers helping to make either the classroom or your schoolwork accessible to.
My favorite example of that would be last year where Mr. Burrie and Sophia really, really works well together to make me feel like I was actually included. And I’m saying that the teachers this year don’t, but they, I think it partially helped that Mr. Be’s dad has a disability and there was some relationship.
Does that makes sense? That’s a very good question. Any others? I think Deanna has a question, Dean. Thank you so much, uh, for your presentation, Alexis, and for answering our questions. Um, I actually have two questions, if that’s okay? Sure. My first question is, uh, what part of the medical field do you think you might be interested in pursuing?
And my second question is, what have you found? I know you talked. Removing some furniture from uh, classrooms is helpful. Are there any other things that you’ve found really helpful, um, in a learning environment that we could help people to understand? Thank you. So first of all, I wanna go into psychology cuz I’ve had some really good experiences with psychology, being a person with a disability.
Second of all, Um, just maybe if you’re gonna, I get that this may not happen with all the teachers, but if you’re gonna put somebody on a adaptable, accessible format, maybe put somebody else with them on as a partner so that they don’t feel less left out and, and they can say, Did you try this? How was it for?
Does that answer your question, Dean? Yes. Yes. Thank you, Alexis. Thank you so much.
Sophia? Thanks. Um, so I have listened to all of your podcasts. And they’re all super amazing. Um, and I’ve learned something from each and one, each and every one of them. And at the end of your podcast, you ask your, the person that you’re interviewing, what do you think makes a mighty person? And I love all the different answers that come out of it.
And so I’m gonna ask you, Alexis, what do you think makes a mighty person? Well, anybody who stands up is brave, not as brave, but is, is willing to give. Give themselves to open up and let people hear their perspective, and people who are willing to listen. Now to all the staff, where do you think makes a maybe person?
Any questions with that?
Uh, Rachel. Alexis, I thought your presentation was excellent and I was wondering if I, I noticed at the beginning you asked Sophia to record it if, if, where we will be able to find that recording. So we, and if you, we have your permission to share it with other. I’ll probably put it up as a podcast for this month, just cuz it’s easier to do it that way after you edit and record and play around with it.
And yes you do. But I would like an email first knowing that it, it’s rent out. Because it’s kind of cool to see how you, how you grow.
Okay. Thank you. Does that answer your question? Yes, it does.
I think Deanna has another question, Dean. Thank you. Thanks for answering our questions, Alexis. Um, uh, I have another couple of questions. You’re a grade 10 student, so you don’t have, you’ve got a few years left in school. Um, and, uh, you said that you were looking at starting a non-profit. Yes. Um, is that something that you’re thinking about doing before you graduate, or are you thinking about doing that after you graduate?
Um, and then the second, Oh, sorry, we’re in the process of it. Um, and then can I ask another, another question along with that? Sure. Thank you. Uh, what kind of non-profit are you thinking about? Uh, starting one. Love supports people with cerebral palsy. Melissa, you can maybe help me speak to this cuz I do go to a lot of the three Palsy Association.
and I really enjoy their meetings. They’re just really enjoyable. Yeah. Thanks Alexis. Um, I’m so glad you want to, um, do, um, a start a new . I’m very happy to hear that. Um, yeah, the cgo Policy Association of DC the way organization that I work for as a disability consultant, and that’s how I got involved with Alexis, um, through them and.
I’m, I’m a disability consultant for them, and I’m also a blog writer and a Facebook moderator for, for private Facebook group up almond book. I’m moderating as as I’m on a team right now that’s create, that has created a leisure guide for family families on Vancouver Island who have cerebral palsy. So I can put my contact info if, if anybody wants it in, because I am also, I’m also, I also started my own consulting business called Accessibility and Inclusion Matter Consulting.
And I can help. I can help people. Like teachers and that kind of thing. With the new legislation that does launch last month around accessibility and inclusion, accessibility, inclusion being a mandatory, um, thing in all public and private sectors, from libraries to schools to to grocery stores. So I’m just going to put the, my contact info in here.
Um, I’m gonna put my email first
and then, uh, I’ll let, I’ll let Alexis talk now. So that’s my little bit. I’ll put up my website and my email. So thank you for letting me have a voice in here, Alexis. Thank you. You’re welcome. Any other questions related to today’s presentation for me?
So Sophia, uh, um, so yeah, thank you for taking my question, Alexis. Uh, my question is, um, you mentioned therapeutic writing. . Um, and, uh, Ashley, you’re a writer. Mm-hmm. You’ve been to the Olympics, Paralympics because of it. Did you start off with therapeutic writing? Yeah, I did. So, um, I hated conventional physical therapy.
When I was younger, I would like fight my parents’ tooth and nail. And so finally at the age of like two and a half and my physio was like, Let’s trick her. She likes animals. Let’s just throw her on a horse. And she’ll be doing the exact same things that I ask her to do every day, but hopefully she likes the horse.
And we’ll see what happens because a horse can. Like the way that enable bodied person walks, a horse can move their body in that way. So as someone who can’t mimic the way that you walk, it’s really good for stretching and balance and coordination. So that’s how it started. At two and a half I was.
Sitting on a horse with another human with my hockey helmet on, like smiling from ear to ear. And then, uh, got bit by the horse bug. And I think my parents may regret that decision cuz then I told everyone when I was six years old that I was gonna go to the Olympics and ride horses all over the world.
And it just took everyone else a little bit longer to catch up with that. Little goal, but yeah, that is essentially how it started. It was good for walking and stretching. And for me, uh, cerebral palsy is a lot of spasticity and stiffness, and so my parents were literally having to like pull me apart. And so if you were to ride a horse, As an able bodied person, from what I’d heard from the words that come outta your mouth, you get off and you’re like, Oh, I’m so stiff I can’t move.
But it’s the opposite for me. I get off and I’m like, Oh, everything is so loose and this feels so nice, and, and then gradually about an hour and a half later, everything stiffens up again. So, Yeah, For me it’s freedom. It’s fast. I can go as far as I want, as fast as I want. Like I’m never running under my own power.
But on a horse, I’m for sure doing that. So there’s a mix of good physio, good freedom. They’re good for your soul. They’ll never say, Hey, you wobbly one. You can’t get on my back. Just cuz you can’t get on like everyone else. Yeah, I echo that. It’s a huge sense of freedom and it’s what started both of our journeys, which is why I wanted to bring her up here today to explain the journey of start.
First of all, starting at horse riding. Second off being an who wrote a book with als. That’s awesome. Thank you. I think we have time for one more question, Naomi. Oh, Alexis, I just, Can you hear me? Yes. Okay. I just wanted to say thank you. You asked the question: who, what makes a mighty person? And I remember when I was out there visiting you, I asked the same question and I love your answer and I, I actually haven’t followed your last couple of podcasts, and I saw that you had one on cmt.
I might cry while I say this, but my daughter has cmt, so thank you for having that on there and. I’m so glad you are advocating for yourself at this point. My daughter’s in university and having to learn to advocate for herself for the first time. So you being at the point that you are at is so awesome and encouraging.
So way to. And I’m gonna send her your podcast and say Go. What is she university for? She is studying environmental studies. So she’s all the way in Halifax and she is, um, yeah, learning to be a mighty mover herself. A mighty yes. So, good job. Good job.
Any other Last question.
No other. I, I, I think that’s it. Um, no other last question.
Sorry, Sophia, can I just jump in? Yes, yes. Alexis, can I just take a couple of seconds to, um, thank you so much for your presentation today. Um, I. I feel like I’ve shared a journey with you today, and I’m so incredibly grateful for that. I’m so grateful that you’ve shared yourself as a human being, um, that you’ve been vulnerable with us today, uh, and that you’ve shown us limitless possibilities, um, that, uh, and, and all the, all the abilities that, uh, people with, um, disabil.
Have, uh, I, I have learned so much about, um, environments that, uh, uh, present barriers, um, advocacy for, uh, making sure that those barriers are reduced, um, and, uh, about your hopes and dreams. As, uh, you pursue your goals, um, you are a true role model and just such an inspiration to all of us, and I really, really appreciate your presentation, uh, today.
And to Ashley and Melissa, thank you so much for joining as well and presenting. Also, we really appreciate that you’ve taken your time, uh, to spend with us. Thank you. Thank you. That was a great introduction. Any further questions, feel free to shoot me an email, Deanna. Thank you.
All right. Thank you everyone. Thank you everyone. . Bye bye. Great work of access. Thank you. Thank you. So a lot of you thank. Thank you. Bye. Just don’t be late for school on Tuesday. Alexis,
any questions? Any last final questions before we leave?
Just don’t be lateMMP # 20