By Dan Chalcraft
“I’ve always been good with technology and would consider myself to be technology geek,” says Shayne De Wildt, who lives with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia which affects his mobility. He is on the right path towards a career in information technology and loves what he is doing. “I’m always into the latest tech and I enjoy working with people. Some would say I talk too much.”
Giant leap forward
Shayne received early support in academics from his high school Support Education Assistant (SEA). Following high school, he decided to attend Capilano University in order to experience school with all its possibilities and challenges. Being in a power wheelchair posed some difficulties, as there were times when the elevator was out of order and he had to be carried upstairs. He also struggled to write essays as he has memory issues.
“Last year was when I decided to listen to [my mom] and switch to a more practical school and I am doing really well in it so far,” he says. He recently completed the A+ Hardware Technician course which taught him valuable skills to help prepare for a career in IT. He hopes to enter an IT program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in September. “If I was giving advice, I would recommend really thinking about what you’re good at and go for it. I chose this path because I love technology and helping people solve their issues. I am a people person and I love giving back to society.”
The disability community
De Wildt has been on the North Shore Advisory Committee on Disability Issues for nearly six years. He also gives back by helping out at preteen dances at his local community centre once a month for many years, and recently he started volunteering at a senior iPad class once a week. In addition, he is active in sports including international-level power soccer.
Through the adapted yoga program offered by the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC, he learned about other CPABC programs and services such as the Tanabe Bursary which is a $1,000 scholarship to assist students with cerebral palsy wishing to pursue a post-secondary education. Eleven students received the award in 2015. Shayne received the bursary in both 2014 and 2015.
The 24-year-old is excited about pursuing a career in IT, although he acknowledges that the field still comes with challenges for those living with cerebral palsy. “I sometimes find that people can’t understand me so I have to repeat myself or say it differently. I also happen to be in a power wheelchair which is an issue within itself.” But he says that you need to be prepared to fight for what you want and to keep going even if someone tells you that you can’t.
Pursuing his dreams
“I’ve found out the harder way that education is important, especially for those with disabilities as society has a misconception that people with disabilities don’t lead a normal life. I live on my own in a wonderful city, but it’s hard sometimes to think that someone with a disability needs to work doubly as hard as an able-bodied person to be somebody and to be accepted in to society.”
Shayne is embarking an exciting journey to a new career in IT. “The Tanabe bursary is helping me to get one step closer to that goal,” he says.
“The bursary enables me to go back to study to get in the field that I love and want to get in to”.
The CPABC is happy to assist him in living his Life Without Limits!