Simon Fraser University
September 4th, 2012
Orientation at SFU is over and Shannon is sleeping in. Shannon, along with Sarah, spent two days with Clan 71 familiarizing themselves with the campus and both the academic and social life. Shannon will be attending SFU through a program called Steps Forward, this will give Shannon a chance to experience all that post secondary life offers, education, clubs, sports and the chance to make new friends.
I was a very involved parent in the education and social life of both of our children, Shannon naturally required a little more of my attention. It has felt a little odd to send Shannon off to orientation knowing this is something she needs to do without her mom. I’m guessing there are lots of parents out there with the same feelings, the difference for me is I now need to create new ways to introduce Shannon to her peers. I have always had a close connection with the staff and students in elementary and high school, keeping my distance from SFU will make sharing information a little more difficult.
Day one of orientation was something that Shannon enjoyed but for Sarah, it was a reminder of how much work we had done in high school. Shannon had friends, real friends and lots of them. Friends that would come into the classroom and take Shannon away from Sarah, that would involve Shannon in their projects, make her laugh and tell her secrets. These friends would set up Shannon’s equipment for her and use her camera to record whatever they were doing. And now, we start again.
Three friends from high school made a point to say hi to Shannon, to use her name and make her feel comfortable. On day one, Shannon’s clan members pretty much stayed to themselves, day two brought a few questions, ‘Where’s the strangest place Shannon’s gone in her wheelchair?’. ‘How does Shannon get around in the snow?’. The questions will continue with the start of classes, I will keep my distance but I will continue to educate others, to let them now what Shannon can do, I’ll just do it through a Facebook page. It’s in the beginning phase, I’ve posted Shannon’s Grade 12 portfolio, it’s a start, a place for people to peek into Shannon’s life, to help fellow students figure out ways to interact with her.
Take a look and check back for updates, we’ve always felt that curiosity is a good thing people just need to be given permission to ask the questions so…..ask away!