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Ken's history

KENNETH PETER THOMAS

 

 

BORN:

            1952  in Calgary Alberta

            I did not breath for 20 minutes at birth which cause brain damage and my different able condition, which is called Athatoid Cerebral palsy.

 

 CHILDHOOD:

            lived at home with my parents  and Brother and Sister until I was 4, years old.  Then my dad got transferred to Lethbridge for six years.  I boarded with different families in Calgary to go to the Cerebral Palsy clinic half days for therapy and only got about 20 minutes of schooling each day, I went home every couple of weeks and on holidays.  My parents then moved back to Calgary for two years, then my father got transferred to Edmonton luckily!

 

I was 12 when we moved to Edmonton and only in grade 2 because I only went to school half a day in Calgary.  My parents were first told I could go to school at the Winnifred Stuart School for the Mentally challenged, which they refused to do and had a teacher teach me at home for a few months before I got into the school program at the CP. clinic ( full days) for two years, then I went to the new Glenrose School Hospital as an out patient from 1966 until 1975 when I graduated grade 12. I did all my work using an electric typewriter typing using a head pointer on the keys. It was a real struggled but I was determined to get my high school diploma, which I achieved!

 

After finishing high school I did not know what I wanted (or could do) with the rest of my life.     I decided to take some psychology and personal development courses for interest at Grant Mac Ewen College for a few years.   Then In 1983 I took my first computer course at a new pilot computer school for persons who had Disabilities.   Shortly after I completed the computer accounting course the school closed down because the Gentleman who got it started suddenly died and the school died with him.

 

After I finished the computer course I bought myself a little laptop computer but I could not do much with it other than type letters.   A few years later I bought my first real computer and took another accounting course at College.  after which I decided accounting was not for me, but working with computers was.  I have taught myself several computer programs over the years.   I have even designed and developed my own database program for sports, which I am trying to sell now to sport organizations. I have taught myself web site design and now have my own Web Site Which is http://www.backwheeler.ca  Of course you already know this otherwise you would not be reading this boring article! I now use my nose to type with rather than a head pointer, because it is easier and faster.

 

LIVING SITUATION

I Lived with my parents and bother and sister until I was 23 when I moved into the first group home built for Physically differently abled adults in 1975 and lived there 15 years,  until I moved into my own apartment in an housing Cooperative in 1990, where I still live.  There are 29 adapted apartments out of a total 88 suites in the Cooperative.  We have our own Supports for Independent Living (S.A.I.L.) program within the Cooperative.   The Personal support staff from this program assist me and the other Members (who are differently abled) do things we require assistance with like: personal care, cooking meals, feeding cleaning the apartment, laundry, etc..

I love living independently in my own apartment.

 

VOLUNTEER WORK

I have Volunteered and sat on the following Board’s of Directors:

·           Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta.- 8 years 

·           Alberta Committee of Persons with Disabilities - 6 years

·           The City of Edmonton Disabled Adult Transportation advisory Board, (1985 - 1990) 

·           The Alberta Cerebral Palsy Sports Association.- first President - 10 years

·           Board Member and Vice-President of the  Maintenance Committee - Artspace Cooperative for 2 years. I was on this Committee for 14 years.

I have lived in the Co-op for over 16 years now and continue volunteering on many of the Co-op's committees.

·          
CITY OF EDMONTON ADVISORY BOARD ON SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES -

Visit this Boards web site: Advisory Board on Services for Persons with Disabilities

 

 

RECREATION ACTIVITIES:

compet in wheelchair sports in the sport of track on an international bases for fourteen years, from 1981 until 1994.   Some of the places I competed in are: as follows

Britain, Holland Denmark, Belgium, Germany, United States. and at the 1988 Paralympics which were held in Seoul Korea.  I won a bronze medal in the 800 metre’s in Seoul..

Competing at the Paralympics and having 100,000 people watching us march in the stadium at the opening and closing ceremonies was a real hi-light of my life  I was forced to retire from competing in track because my class was cut because there was not enough athletes in my class to hold the events after 1991.  This was a real disappointment, because I loved competing at these international competitions.   Although I do not compete anymore I still wheel backwards 12 kilometers in one hour two times a week all year round in my three wheel track wheelchair at the University of Alberta track. I do this  to keep in shape and because I enjoy wheeling.  Once in a while I still run in local 10 kilometre road races for fun. In July of 2005 I persuaded the organizers (with some difficulty!) to let me entered and competed in the WORLD MASTERS GAMES 10 kilometre road race here in Edmonton. Although the hill I had to go first down, then up was not fun! I completed the race and got a gold medal.

 

I enjoy watching all kind of sports Football, hockey, baseball etc.  Going to live plays, watching movies, listening to music,  (the Edmonton folk festival is the greatest!) Wheel chair Square dancing which I’ve done for over 30 years now., Ride my three wheel bicycle., swim once a week 64 lengths of a 25 metre pool in 90 minutes (that is one mile). I have skied in a sledge,  rode horses,  flew  in hot air balloon and in a bye plane, dog sled ride water sliding at West Edmonton Mall, went on a 10 day Panama cruise with some friends. etc.   I really like trying new adventure, although I am not certain if I want to try Bungee-jumping?  Then again!

 

Basically I try and keep myself fit, active, and live life to the fullest!. Also I get involved with causes that promote independent living and lifestyles of differently abled persons in the community, which is a real struggle at times!

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