Robbie’s journey began on June 21, 1995. He was born a healthy baby boy, 8 lbs 8 oz with beautiful red hair. It wasn’t too long afterwards that we saw signs that Robbie’s travel through life would have road blocks both developmentally and medically. Robbie was diagnosed at Child Development Services (CHEO) in September 1996. This stop lead Robbie to Infant Stimulation, occupational, speech & physiotherapy as well as Children’s Integration Support Services. Robbie is now a handsome young man with global delays along with various medical concerns.
Robbie started at Carleton Memorial Child Care, where a great team worked with all the above supports to make a difference in Robbie’s life. As an Early Childhood Educator myself, I was able to have Robbie attend where I worked. He started in 1998 in the preschool program at City View Day Care. This environment worked perfectly for both of us. I cannot thank the agency enough to have this in place for their employees and for the exceptional care they gave Robbie. City View Home Care was Robbie’s next stop where he met Lorraine, who continues to be a valuable friend to Robbie.
He now hangs out with Alma after school; she is a private home child care provider with young children in her care. Robbie is very gentle with the children and just adores their company.
Robbie currently attends Bell High School. Gym and community co-op are his favourite activities. He is in the community living program where he is preparing for transition into society. Literacy, language and cognitive development remain his challenges; he listens and tries hard. He wants to be a hockey player when he finishes school.
At age 2, Robbie started to have grand mal seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Years were spent trying a variety of medications. There were repeated overnight trips to emergency and he is still on medication to control his seizures. Robbie has strabismus. He has had two eye surgeries to correct his lazy eyes. Robbie really wants to wear glasses because it’s so cool… but doesn’t need them. Robbie has scoliosis. This was diagnosed when he was 10 years old. He has gone through 3 back braces and this past year had surgery to put a rod in his spine. He now stands a very tall and straight 5’ 9’’ and has recently returned to the sports he loves. He continues to develop his communication skills. Robbie has dysplasia of the mouth and this spring finally got one of his wishes, braces. It’s been about 6 months and friends have said his face has changed and he looks great. He may need surgery in the future to correct the dysplasia.
Robbie loves school. If he could, he would go every day for the rest of his life. He graduated from Carleton Heights Public School where he received the Phillip Davis Award, given to students who have consistently worked hard to achieve their potential. It also recognizes positive contributions to life at Carleton Heights and the Special Education Program. We were so proud of him!
On the Platform
Sports are a key part of Robbie’s life. He has been involved with Special Olympics (SO) and in 2007 Robbie participated in the Eastern Ontario Skate Canada competition. He has won a gold and bronze medal. He also swims and plays basketball with SO where he has made many friends.
In 2009 Robbie joined the Capital City Condors, a hockey team for youth who have been deemed ineligible to play on any other hockey team in the City of Ottawa due to a disability. He challenges his abilities every time he is on the ice. It may not be the NHL but his and my dream has been answered.
During Robbie’s year away from sports, due to his scoliosis surgery, we found that he had other talents. Our neighbours Sergey and Lucy taught Robbie to paint during his Saturday morning visits and he is very proud of his paintings. Robbie shows creativity in choosing colors. His vibrant creations are colors in motion that spill over the edges of his surfaces. He has had many compliments about his art. He has sold several pieces, giving him opportunities to purchase more art supplies. His work appears at the CHIMO Inn off St. Laurent Boulevard and at Just Imagine in Manotick. He has a Facebook page for any of you who would like to view or buy.
What’s Around the Corner?
Outside of school Robbie enjoys going to the movies, listening to music, playing his drums, biking and Thomas the train. Most of all he has a great fondness for his family, friends and neighbours and loves to socialize with them. He is an only child, so Meisha, our 6 year old border collie/husky is very special to him. He takes care of her and she follows his every command.
We also discovered how dedicated our family, friends, neighbours and community are through their support and we thank them for offering Robbie the opportunity to have enriching life experiences.
Adulthood will have some privileges and challenges for him. He has achieved many successes in life despite having disabilities and has come a long way but his journey is far from over. I have been amazed with his successes and am very proud.
Love you forever.