High-school student Chen Chien-ying (陳芊穎) said she hopes to help others after so many helped her overcome the limitations of cerebral palsy, once she obtains a psychology degree from National Taiwan University (NTU).
On Thursday last week, Chen became the first student from Changhua County’s National Lukang Senior High School to be accepted into the prestigious university through its program to help disadvantaged students.
Born with cerebral palsy, Chen said that she has always found movement difficult.
Photo: Liu Hsiao-hsin, Taipei Times
When she was an infant, her parents thought that she was just developing slowly, but after she was diagnosed at one year old, her parents took her to different specialists in the hopes of taking advantage of an early intervention.
Her mother took her to rehabilitation and acupuncture clinics for treatment, which Chen said helped, but was painful to endure.
Due to her condition, she must wear foot braces and has difficulty performing small movements, she said.
Writing notes during class is challenging to her, so she often takes photographs of the blackboard with her phone and uploads them for her classmates — in addition to preparing in advance to ensure she does not fall behind, Chen said.
For essays, her teachers let her type on a laptop, she said, but added that math class is challenging, as she has to use a pencil to write out calculations and proofs.
Fortunately, she is given more time to take tests, enabling her to advance in her studies, Chen said.
Chen, who has never attended a cram school, received good-enough grades in her high-school entrance exam to attend National Changhua Girls’ Senior High School, but decided to stay closer to home.
She said that she has encountered many kind teachers and students during her time at Lukang Senior High, who are happy to help her move around the school.
“The teachers are all sympathetic and have been very kind to me,” she said.
Chen said that she was inspired to choose NTU’s Department of Psychology after becoming fascinated with her brother’s book about Sigmund Freud’s dream interpretations.
Since so many people have helped her throughout her life, she said that she hopes to help even more people by becoming a psychologist.
Chen’s counselor, Yu Chih-ting (余志挺), said that the choice of a study program suits her well, as Chen has a very sharp mind.
Chen is not deterred by limitations, but works hard to realize her dreams, Lukang Senior High principal Lin Yi-hsien (林宜賢) said.
NTU provides an additional admissions track for students from disadvantaged backgrounds that employs a holistic approach.
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