Meet Mataya

Photo of Mataya skiing

Meet Mataya, a bubbly, talkative 13-year-old girl with the biggest, most infectious smile and amazing personality. On Friday, February 25th, the Maine CDC, Children with Special Health Needs Care Coordinator, Pamala Martin, met with Mataya for an interview in honor of Developmental Disabilities month. Mataya was poised, proud, positive and after a minute of shyness, she was confident in talking about her life and the activities she participates in and school. An honor student: she loves school, where she is enrolled in six classes and has made new friends. On top of school, she participates in skiing, girl scouts, dance, art, and swimming.  She is proud of the work she did selling girl scout cookies and looks forward to a trip to D.C. with her troop. Mataya says she is a shark when in the water and will begin swimming with her team in the near future; a team she almost did not get to swim with because she did not have a support person. Thanks to a local high school student, Mataya will now be active team member. 

Pamala states, “Not only did the interview leave me with the biggest smile on my face but it also left me feeling inspired to do more. What I learned most was how important inclusion is and that one’s disability does not define them.  As professionals, we must have a stronger voice in advocacy, in breaking down the barriers that prevent these children with the opportunities they deserve.”

Photo of Mataya standing next to a horse

We must empower them to be the best they can be. Inclusion means safeguarding their social and emotional well-being as well as their future so these children can be the best they can be. The ripple effect of inclusion comes in forms of higher self-esteem, social skills, greater educational achievements and so much more. Inclusion means something different to every individual, but the outcome is undeniable to all.

Pamala Martin
Healthcare Coordinator