Major Learning Project week 1

I had a bit of a hard time narrowing down an idea that would fit into the parameters of the options available. I wanted to do something both meaningful and challenging. My journey thus far in the EC&I classes has proved useful in my daily teaching by greatly improved my understanding of technology in the classroom. This growth was not the easy for me and came through a great deal of work, mostly because of my own inefficiencies with technology.

This term will be no exception, I plan on doing a project that will challenge my understanding of technology and some deep seated social intricacies that I would like to get a better understanding of.

The Inspiration

This little hairball is Luke Claude Raes, he is currently 2.5 years old and is quite a little character (like me). He is your typical kid, makes a big mess, says funny things and cries when he doesn’t get his way, (like his mom). I will never forget the day Luke was born, it was a warm day in August, we ate crepes for breakfast. Lacey has a family history of quick births, so quick in fact that two children have been born on the way to the hospital. SO, being a car guy I toyed with the idea that it may be kind of neat having your kid born in the car… you know, name him something funny like Silverado, Skylark or Lincoln… depending on which vehicle he was born in… of course. I am sure we can all agree this is unique opportunity and would be a great family story down the road, especially for a (potential) future car guy!! However, like most of my good ideas, it was quickly rejected and I was told that we had decided to have a more traditional birth. So as we sat and ate our lunch that Sunday afternoon I remember the feeling of great anticipation as Lacey told me that we needed to leave. We arrived at the hospital and the contractions were increasing in speed and intensity. The nurses told her calmly that everything was on track, but left the room to tell the doctor he needed to come immediately. Less than 30 minutes later Luke was born. What an amazing roller coaster of emotion, on one hand I was agonizing watching the woman I love go through so much pain and on the other I was so proud of the little life we had just brought into the world.

As Luke was born the doctor called the nurse to help, it turns out there was a complication with the umbilical chord. The chord had tied itself in a knot, after a few initial tests were performed the doctor informed us that Luke was a little miracle baby. He explained that in the 20 years he had been delivering babies, this had only happened once before happened where there weren’t considerable health complications as a direct result. This comment was burned into the back of brain and still surfaces from time to time.

As Luke grew older we began to notice that he was left handed, really left handed. He often wouldn’t open his right hand to hold his bottle… enter doctors comment from the back of my mind.

During Luke’s regular checkups it seemed he was not meeting some of the milestones typical in child development. Our doctor explained that it is not normal for infants to show such strong left or right handed tendencies, he recommended that we see a specialist to help diagnose why he was falling behind. I remember leaving that appointment feeling very different, I was not sad, or upset because Luke was my son and and a diagnoses wouldn’t change that. But, at the same time I could see some of those little daydreams of Luke playing the guitar, or being the high school quarterback slipping away…

So off to the specialist we go, after months of physiotherapy and talking to a long list of specialists (who were all wonderful, and get to play with infants all day… what a great job) it was determined that Luke has Cerebral Palsy, (almost certainly due to his oxygen supply being cut off from the knot in his umbilical chord). Some of the language they used to describe it was extremely lucky, fortunate, minimally disabled… these will come into play later.

I know this is a long and unsolicited look into my personal life. I don’t often talk about it because I don’t like the idea that Luke isn’t normal. He is a funny little character just like everyone else his age, he is minimally effected by this as he has been meeting all cognitive milestones and due to his physiotherapy he has started getting more mobility in his right arm. However, he is not “normal”. So, my project will be a social awareness campaign based around the “normative center”.

Some of the things I would like to explore are:

  • What is the Normative Center?
  • How does the Normative Center affect people both “in” and “outside” of it?
  • Who decides what normal is?
  • Why do people feel the need to “fix” someone outside the “normative center”?
  • How do students/adults feel that don’t fit into this definition of normal?

There are many things to be cognizant of when planning something like this, my own bias, a dialogue open to discussion and understanding without making comparisons and trying to get input without singling people out based on my perceptions… could be a tricky one…

Please feel free to add some points that could be addressed. I would love to hear your point of view around some of these thoughts so please open a dialogue with me about them!

Published by bradraes7578

Vice Principal at Prince Arthur in Moose Jaw, Sk.

5 thoughts on “Major Learning Project week 1

  1. Hey Brad. That’s a cute kid … even if he looks a bit like you haha. You know I think we all battle with what ‘normal’ is and I think we have made great strides in realizing that each person is unique and special in their own way. There is a lot of pressure from outside influences to look and act a certain way or pointing out differences in a negative way but I feel there are more voices celebrating the our uniqueness and the amazing gifts each of have period. I have worked with a few and have a few family members that some might label ‘not normal’ but I have been inspired by the strength, courage, and love of life they have taught me and I am forever grateful for the joy they gave blessed me with and lessons I have learned. I also tell people that normal is boring and to be number one you have to be odd haha. Love your perspectives and appreciate you sharing your journey. Looking forward to learning from you and your project. PS – The pictures you added of Luke put a huge smile on my face … thanks for that.


  2. Hey Brad, I’ve always enjoyed following and reading your blog. I think your project will be great. Luke looks absolutely adorbs!

    I believe people make such a big fuss about “fixing” people outside of their “normative centers” because it makes other people uncomfortable when people don’t fit into neat little molds, or are “different” for whatever reason. I think you should focus on this in your project, although you would probably know best given your situation. This could be something to spread awareness about.

    I also believe it’s important to not turn things that are out of your control into crutches, so, you may focus on how happy Luke himself is, living his life! Your family is indeed blessed, and good things are in store. He seems like an amazing, lively boy, and you’ll love him so much.

    I look forward to your project, and I believe you will make a difference out there, to other people who follow, and also to other people who will relate more directly to your life as well.




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