26 June 2008

Living IT

When I was born just over 26 years ago I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy of the lower limbs and after Mum pushed for an investigation, rigid scoliosis of the spine. (I’ll come back to this a little later).
The medical professionals told my parents not to expect much because according to their research CP suffers were pretty much ‘vegetables’ in most cases (understanding of the condition was much less than it is today and society’s attitude was very different).
Having a disabled Son was too much for my Dad, who was part of a very wealthy family whom had made their fortune in the construction industry, he and his family tried to persuade Mum that she should put me in an institution as having a disabled Son would have brought shame on the family in the circles in which they mingled as disabled people were seen as stupid and frankly not human and so of course I would not have been a suitable heir to their empire.
Thankfully Mum told them to take a hike and continued to fight the hospitals to get me the operations I needed.
They initially told her that there was nothing wrong with my back and that she was just being neurotic.
After obtaining a second opinion from one of the foremost experts on Scoliosis it was finally acknowledged that I had the condition, Mum made me do lots of exercise and I can do a lot of things that traditionally people with rigid scoliosis cannot, this is the end of the medical bit!


For the first three years of school I was placed into a school for kids with special needs as the consultant I was under for my Scoliosis was concerned that I could get knocked over on my crutches and that it could damage my back or kill me in the worst case.
It was good fun but I was mostly learning things at home because the curriculum was geared toward those with severe learning difficulties and so did not stretch the brain very much.
After 3 years I moved to a mainstream middle school so that I could integrate.
Unfortunately, it did not quite work out that way, due to the appearance of my back and the fact I wanted to work I was subject to bullying.
I did however have one good friend, an able-bodied girl called Kelly.
Unfortunately, her family moved to Australia for a time and then came back and I bumped into her about 10 years ago but unfortunately I forgot to exchange contact details and as she is not particularly tech savvy I’ve got no hope of getting in touch via the web  (one of life’s regrets I suppose)
Anyway it was here that I discovered my love of technology and I learnt all I could about MS-DOS and the BBC micro and was frequently called upon to sort out problems when the teacher responsible for IT was not available.
I also left my mark on that school; I managed to persuade the headteacher to apply to the council for funding to put in a ramp up to the playing field.
The council approved, the ramp was built and still stands to this day!
From there I moved to secondary education, unfortunately the bullying continued and I was told by one person ‘I’m sorry I can’t be your friend as otherwise they will bully me’
I withdrew from socialising and concentrated on developing my knowledge of computer systems and technology in general, this did unfortunately give the bullies more ammunition but I didn’t really care, I got tagged as having a ‘social problem’ by the education authorities
I did average in my GCSEs and went onto study GNVQ Business at Intermediate and Advanced levels, achieving a Distinction in both despite the continued bullying.
I got an offer for one of the top Universities in the UK for technology but my grade for mathematics was just below the entry requirement and I nearly had a coronary when I looked over how much I would have walked out with as regards debt so I decided not to go that route.


After completing my GNVQs I was offered a job working as a Learning Support Assistant at my secondary school for a year to work with kids with special needs to improve their IT skills as the other members of the team would not go near a PC (I had done this as my service to the school when I was in sixth form)
After a year, the funding for my post dried up so I was made redundant.
I then applied successfully for a job on a technical support desk for a large distance education provider and have been there for 5 and a half years now.
It took a while for colleagues to accept me and that I knew what I was talking about but at least they now listen to me as in 2005 I successfully passed the exams to become a Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician on the first attempt, the only person in the office to do so!
Since then only two sat the exams.

The person I am now and my future plans

I am probably viewed as quite an intense person (if by that you read boring as a lot of people do then so be it!) and my primary interest is still technology, particularly networks and I am looking to develop my career within this area and would like to start my own business providing consultancy services.
I also have an interest in trance music which is a subgenre of what many retailers term electronica (but no I don’t compose or play a note but I do fancy having a stab at DJing some day)
I should also be learning to drive sometime soon.

Anyway, thanks for reading, if you would like to drop me a line or leave a comment, please feel free to do so.

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