Meet Maddy Hearne, a VHS student who is one of the Youth Ambassadors with the Dear Everybody campaign. Dear Everybody is raising the voices of kids and young adults with disabilities to share information, raise awareness, and educate people on how to treat individuals with disabilities.
“The minute we judge and tell someone they cannot do something because they are disabled,
we disempower them.”
– Mathias, Holland Bloorview youth advisory council member, age 22
Maddy has had 6 concussions from competitive dancing, with her most recent concussion leaving her with Traumatic Brain Injury. Maddy has now been out of bricks and mortar school for 2 years. The doctors say that her brain is actually healed, but it just does not know it so she continues to experience concussion-like symptoms. This is called post-concussion syndrome. Maddy often has to wear headphones and sunglasses to handle the symptoms of this syndrome, but these accommodations are not understood by the administrators at her school and even by her friends.
53% of kids who have disabilities have zero or only one close friend.
Learn more at deareverybody.ca.
Maddy came to Virtual High School because the format was more flexible and accommodating for her. She says: “Online school has been so amazing. Without it I would be very, very behind in school. I am able to do school when I feel good, but when I have a bad day I don’t have to do school and I don’t get behind or miss anything. I also don’t get the stimulation of normal school so I am able to better focus with fewer symptoms.”
How can you help?
- Visit deareverybody.ca and read the letter.
- Inform other people about the Dear Everybody campaign.
- Talk about stigma and disabilities.
- Never identify anyone by their disability.
Visit www.deareverybody.ca to learn more.