Connections at the University

Dave (front row, Centre) and friends

Connections, a newsletter published by the Alberta Association for Community Living, an organization that promotes inclusion for people with developmental disabilities published a recent article on inclusion at the College and University Level in its Spring 2010issue that just came out. We were delighted to see our son Dave (who was diagnosed with MECP2 Duplication Syndrome last year) featured in the story that includes the photo reproduced here taken at Concordia University College of Alberta.

For anyone who wants to read the whole article, “Post-secondary options benefit students with developmental disabilities” you can download a 836 kb PDF version from the Connections Website (Click on the Spring 2010 issue). The article is called “Post-secondary options benefit students with developmental disabilities.”

Here is are some things that the article says about Dave:

Dave Sobsey is in his first year at Concordia University College. He is in the Bachelor of Arts program with a major in music and an undecided minor. Last semester he studied Religion and Music…
Dave is a Concordia Student Representative and tours potential new students around the campus.
His professors are committed to his learning and modify his course work to enable Dave’s learning and participation.

This and everything else it says in the article is absolutely true, but it also might be a little confusing or misleading for some. It does not say anything about his diagnosis, or his severe seizure disorder, or his health problems. It does not mention the fact that Dave does not talk and has lost most of his ability to sign. It does not mention that Dave needs constant support and supervision or that his assistant (who took the picture) is never much beyond an arms length away.

The truth is that Dave is not and never will be the typical University student and his friendships are not like many other friendships that one finds among University Students. While they may not be typical, these friendships are very real and mutually beneficial. To those who ask, what is he doing at University, we would simply ask, “where would you have him be?”

At home in bed? In the hospital? In some institution somewhere?

Dave has almost completed his first year at University, and so far that has turned out to be a very good place for him.

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