Meet Maddy Hearne, a VHS student who is one of the Youth Ambassadors for 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. Her most recent concussion led to traumatic brain injury. Maddy has now been out of bricks-and-mortar school for 2 years. Doctors say that her brain is actually healed, but it just doesn’t know it, which is why she continues to experience concussion-like symptoms. This is called post-concussion syndrome. Maddy often wears headphones and sunglasses to manage the symptoms of this syndrome, but these accommodations are not understood by others.
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 our flexible school model could accommodate her individual needs. “Online school has been so amazing,” she says. “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 openly about stigma and disabilities.
- Don’t identify a person by their disability.
Visit www.deareverybody.ca to learn more.