Matt's Story

Matt and a very large bear

Hello, I'm happy that you stumbled on my page, and I hope that you'll be happy, too. My name is Matt, as you can see above, and I'm 14 years old. I'm a big fan of video games (my favorite of all time is "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time"). Do you know that one? I also like to surf the net (who doesn't?), listen to music, especially my favorite  band, Green Day. My favorite song is Boulevard of Broken Dreams. (I hope that the link brings you to a sample of it). I also like to talk to my friends, go to school dances (though I couldn't dance to save my life!), and learn about different cultures. I would LOVE to go roller skating with my friends but the last time I tried I kept falling. By the time I left the rink I thought my poor knees were going to give way. I AM able to jump on my trampoline, though, and I love that. Oh, my favorite subject in school is Spanish. Can't wait to learn more about the language in high school!

In September, I'll be starting high school, and four years down the road, I hope to go to college to study education (since I'd really like to be a teacher). Now I've had some great teachers, and some that haven't been so hot. Because I have a few medical conditions, I need to sit at the front of the class, and when teachers don't let me do that, it drives me nuts. Because I'm "legally blind" (meaning that although I can see without my glasses, everything becomes very blurry when they're off), have degenerative (or osteo) arthritis as well as a mild form of cerebral palsy (cp), it really helps for me to sit up close.

These medical problems have been with me for quite some time, before I can even remember. I was a REALLY tiny baby, three months premature in fact, and I was in the hospital for about four-and-a-half months. during that time I had laser eye surgery, and unfortunately, it didn't help me very much!

Luckily, I have some great friends...very nice... and I can trust them with basically anything. I just wish that we got together more often. Occasionally, kids act like pains in the you know what, and when that happens, I either ignore them, cuss them out, or tell the guidance counselor.

Although I don't have any sisters or brothers, I have more pets than most kids: 12 cats (only one stays inside), 2 dogs, and 2 rabbits. No, I am not Noah and I don't have an ark, but I do enjoy all these four legged friends!

My indoor cat taking an indoor nap!
My indoor cat taking an indoor nap!

As you might imagine, it's sometimes difficult to cope with all of my medical problems, Like my cp, for instance. CP makes it hard for me to control my muscles, and the arthritis makes my hands very tired and crampy when I try to fun when you have to get a paper turned in by the end of class. Fortunately,  my teachers found a way to help me by letting me use an Alpha Smart (a miniature computer). It's also hard for me to speak clearly because I stutter a little bit. Believe me, that is really annoying!
Actually, there are some good things about all these conditions, too, (even though that must be hard to believe!). What's not so bad about being disabled is that for some odd reason, girls can't seem to resist people with disabilities. Why, I don't know, but hey, it works for me!

You might think that having all of these "labels" makes me quite different from you. Wrong! Check out all the things I love to do...just like any other 14 year old, right?

Would you like to learn more about cerebral palsy?
Or athritis?
Or visual impairments?

Please send me a note and tell me what you think of my story!

Thanks again for taking the time to read it! Matt...

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Published: August 4, 2006
Last updated: August 7, 2006