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RUBY’S STORY

Ruby became a champion.

Ruby was born with epilepsy. When she reached school-age, she began to exhibit behavioural issues. It was a constant struggle to get Ruby to school each day. She had meltdowns, experienced bullying and fell behind in her academics.

After months of outbursts, Sara and her husband reached out for expert advice and were referred to the epilepsy classroom at SickKids. Ruby did some testing at SickKids and they discovered she was having small seizures, which had gone unnoticed. The Classroom teaches students with severe epilepsy using techniques tailored to their individual needs, helping students gain a better understanding of their seizures and how they might affect their learning.

Ruby started grade two in the epilepsy classroom and her parents saw dramatic improvement. Not only did she catch up in school, but she developed a love for learning. She returned to mainstream school for grade 3 and subsequently returned to SickKids to complete grade four. When Ruby returned to her mainstream classroom again there were not enough supports in place for her and she began to exhibit severe frustration and anxiety, ultimately leading to diagnoses of Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and learning disabilities along with the epilepsy. Any one of these would make life difficult but combined create chaos, fear and isolation on a daily basis. She has struggled academically, medically and socially trying very hard to “fit in” with others. At the age of 10 she had an emotional breakdown that required hospitalization and a year away from school.   

Luckily Ruby had a gift. She loved to swim. As soon as she was able her family encouraged her to get back in the water. At first she resisted. She was tired, depressed and very scared. But the water and environment calmed her and helped to believe in herself. Ruby became a champion.

"Art is a good way for me to express myself.
If I'm feeling anxious, sad, lonely or scared drawing helps me feel better. Doing my art makes me feel calm and happy."

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