Devon Stoyka

Image: Devon Stoyka

 

On February 16, 1987, my parents’ world was turned upside down. My mother went into labour 12 weeks early, and neither she nor I were prepared for my arrival.

After a caesarean section, all two pounds of me were removed from her womb. I was clinically dead, but I pulled through. Constant medical attention, a trip to intensive care, and a few prayers kept me alive.
 
But I was deprived of oxygen because of a simple mistake. That mistake cost me the use of my legs and left me with a static brain injury called CP or cerebral palsy, two simple words with an irreparable result. CP may just seem like letters to you, but for me they hold a meaning that I hate with a passion.
 
When I was young, I had no idea how important my disability was to other people. They were very nice to me, and gave me a computer and a metal frame that was to be my new body. I didn’t have to sit up straight; a piece of foam became my back.

To make the package sweeter, I was strapped into my seat. Contentment was all that mattered. I didn’t know then that what these nice people were doing didn’t fit my needs. I didn’t know that the plastic braces they put on my feet were not the only solution.
 
My first grade teacher was an open-minded woman who was also the mother of a disabled child. She believed in something more and introduced me to a therapy called Conductive Education®.  CE would change my life—that first session introduced me to the power that my mind could hold.
 
I’d never seen a classroom like that before, one with ladders on the wall and wooden tables with slats for us to lie on. My teachers were not there to teach me the alphabet; they were there to introduce me to my feet.
 
My plastic braces were removed and the metal frame on which I’d grown so dependent was discarded. In a single moment, I was introduced to my body and a million barriers began to come down. Finally, I understood what it might feel like to be you.
 
Conductive Education® is a program that uses vocal repetition and active learning to awaken dormant muscle. Also, it focuses on speech impairments and learning disabilities as a result of brain injuries.

It triggers the brain through the use of vocal prompts to learn how to succeed in physical and mental development. For example, I had a very weak understanding of left and right. In order to get the concept across, the conductor had to repeat “left and right” while touching the corresponding side of my body.
 
I went into CE unable to balance or stand without a large amount of support. I certainly couldn’t walk. I can proudly say that after just a few years in this program, I am walking using my own strength!
 
I walk with a cane, but I can do it, which is kind of funny considering I was told I would never be able to. Through CE, I now understand that the ability to walk is all in the mind. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. I have a determination within me that I had never known before.
 
I want to show how I have changed because of this therapy. I want to raise awareness of this alternate solution to plastic braces and metal frames. CE may not be the treatment for everyone and I respect that. However, it sure has helped me and it will go on helping me so long as I choose. I will no longer be disabled.
 
Thanks to CE I have new confidence, optimism and determination that would never have been mine.
 
Thank you so much!
Devon Stoyka​


join our Annual Online Fundraising Campaign

Join our Mailing List

Join our Mailing list and receive our March of Dimes Dime Times Newsletter. Simply enter your name and email address after you click the button below to start receiving our newsletter

.


Imagine Canada Logo