Nathan is a grade eleven student in West Vancouver who is already a published author in a local newspaper. Setting him apart is his strong interest in journalism which led to him being chosen last school year as a student reporter for the North Shore Outlook, a community newspaper.
A keen athlete, Nathan wrote articles for the newspaper and reported on the Olympics during his grade ten year. In his first article, he describes how he suffered a stroke when he was 2 ½ years old, which paralyzed the left side of his body. He types with one hand as a result of his hemiparisis and dystonia. With physical therapy and family support, he plays multiple sports and is involved in the school sports leadership program. Nathan writes “I won’t say I am the best (athlete) in the class, but I am one of the hardest working students. My disability is kind of a motivator”. With eloquence and a great sense of humour, he proceeds to describe the process of his volunteering for the reporting role.
Nathan has since received a mini laptop from SET-BC, and uses a one handed typing program as well as word prediction software to increase typing speed and independence. His resource teacher, Marc, downloads text in electronic format from ARC-BC. Nathan uses the laptop for all his schoolwork and in his role as a student reporter, with the help of his teachers for composing and editing of his work.
Nathan’s other reporting events included the interviewing a Paralympian, Andrea Holmes. His family reports that “Nathan is so happy to have the computer to assist him… It really gives him confidence – for example he really would have had a difficult time, almost impossible time, interviewing Andrea without it. Using one hand it is difficult to keep the paper he is writing on in place let alone writing. It has given him the confidence to record and use the keyboard and not to have to worry about controlling paper or the Dystonia in his left arm.”
Nathan was also excited to have the opportunity, through 2010 Legacies Now, to attend a press conference at Robson Square during the Olympics in which Samsung announced their financial support of the Paralympic Games. He aspires to becoming a broadcast announcer.
An accomplished athlete, this past summer Nathan competed in the 2010 BC Summer Games, winning a gold medal and three silver medals in swimming events. He could well be on his way towards his goal of one day competing in the Olympics.