The day that Juan Emmanuel Gutiérrez was received at the university, his brother walked him through the center of Río Gallegos and, carrying him in his wheelchair, without stopping, they circled in front of the main mast.
Manu, as his family and friends tell him, was carrying a sign that said “graduate” and passers-by honked to celebrate that happy young man. Few knew the history of overcoming that began 25 years ago, when he was born.
Manu received a degree in Business Administration last December from the National University of Southern Patagonia (UNPA) and getting there was the result of hard personal work where his family was his main engine of hope and commitment.
Today, he aspires to continue studying but above all to obtain a job that gives him economic independence.
“I have a cerebral palsy, quadriparesis, I am dystonic and atheistic, I have affected the entire motor part, I can not make any fine movement, such as writing, or eating alone. I also have dyslexia and dyspraxia, but I understand everything, I am intelligent,” says Manu . He does it through a text he prepared on his computer, in which he writes with the help of a pointer tied with a rigid headband to his head and reproduces a digital reader.
He cannot speak, but he is extremely expressive and able to use whatever resource there is to communicate: the computer, social networks and the telephone are his great allies and he actively uses them.
Cerebral palsy goes back to childbirth. His mother, Silvana Argarañaz, an entertaining and energetic woman concentrates on the present and the achievements of her son. It was the wind under the wings of the child that helped him grow. “He did not speak and did not move, but
with my head he told us things, I taught him here at home, and I realized that I learned, as a child I knew the colors, the shapes, “says Silvana.
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Manu entered the garden and was driving in a walker, he was one more child.
“He always says that in the garden he had true inclusion, because there he could do everything just like the other children,” recalls his mother. He attended the three stages of formal education with the help of an integrating teacher at his side, and since 2014 he is a student of the Río Gallegos Academic Unit, one of the four UNPA headquarters.
Manu, the love for the economy was transmitted by a passionate secondary school teacher: “He told me: 'Mom, I want to be a stockbroker,' and I explained that we don't have that race here. Then he decided on three,” Silvana says. It is that in addition to the bachelor's degree that has just finished, he is pursuing a University Technical Degree in Organizational Management and Teaching Staff in Economics and Organization Management. He wants to do a master's degree but also deeply wants to work.
In addition to the bachelor's degree he has just finished, he is pursuing a University Technician in Organizational Management and Teaching in Economics and Organization Management.
For more than a decade, the academic unit to which Manu has been implementing the Equal Opportunity Program for People with Disabilities (Preoped).
Through it, support and advice is provided to teachers to guarantee the transit of people with disabilities through the university.
“This space arises from national regulations and also from our own university.
From here we help teachers to think how they can generate actions so that all students can study “, details Professor Guillermo Rodriguez, program director.
From the university they clarify that there is no adaptation of content for students, but that it is about adjustments in the evaluation. ”
We encourage fellow teachers to have more creativity when evaluating them, to give them more time, or find a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge and facilitate their homework, “explains Rodriguez.
For this year there are 18 students who approached the program with different disabilities in search of fulfilling the dream of obtaining their degree.
Manu goes to the university with an assistant who accompanies him, “She records her classes and takes notes. When she can't, I go,” Silvana says.
That is the only help the young man receives from the State: first he was an integrating teacher, today he is a physical assistant. His mother is the support of Manu in his home, which breaks down the classes and orders the notes so that the young man can study.
“I have installed some special programs on my computer that help me, such as one that reads my notes and I listen; I study by visual and auditory memory,” says Manu. “Being unable to write; I don't have the graphology engraved in my head; I can write the words by visual memory,” he adds. Sometimes teachers provide you with notes and already digitized material, such as PowerPoint, Word, or PDF.
I have some special programs installed on my computer that help me, such as one that reads my notes and I listen; study by visual and auditory memory
I fulfill all the corresponding curricular hours, I don't have any type of adaptation in the program, as content reduction, for example. My titles have and will have the same value as that of any other professional. What I do have are access adaptations, which are agreed with the professor, “says Manu.
Since he was born, his family – composed of his parents and an older brother – accommodated his life so that Manu's inclusion is full. For example, they did participate in bicycles through their walker and accompanied him to study trips with his companions.
The young man managed to forge strong bonds of friendship like those he maintains with Michelle and “El tucu”, who visit it daily and with whom they share outings and roasts; and Nicolas, his friend from the university stage with whom they usually study together.
“Everything can be done” is the message of Manu, the first young man with cerebral palsy to be received at UNPA.
His story opened many doors and stimulated others who go after his example.
(tagsToTranslate) He has cerebral palsy and started three careers in college – LA NACION
Publicado en el diario La Nación