Janet Fehr (1942- ), born and raised in Saskatchewan, worked as a multimedia advertising copywriter for the first part of her life. She made a career change some years ago, dedicating herself to the rehabilitation field, and now works as a support person for people who are developmentally disabled. The author of "Irregular People" (2000, Borealis) currently lives in Calgary with her husband.
Irregular People briefly describes the unfinished sixty year journey of persons who are disabled from the darkness of prejudice to the bright light of acceptance as equal members of society. It also tells the stories of several irregular people whose personalities are both remarkable and unforgettable.
The stories are organized in five chapters.
Chapter One: an introduction to the story teller, her personality, and the origin of the title Irregular People.
Chapter Two: a brief history by decades from 1930 to 1990, focusing on attitudes towards persons who are disabled, and the degree of progress towards acceptance during the sixty years in question. Each decade features a short vignette illustrating the degree of acceptance or lack thereof.
Chapter Three: stories of interactions between individuals who are disabled and the story teller. These stories have humour, pathos, success and failure. They tell about the day to day struggles that persons with disabilities face in their attempt to be accepted as valuable beings.
Chapter Four: three stories that summarize the struggle of persons who are disabled. One story examines a popular myth about persons with Down Syndrome; one story talks about the kind of abuse that is perpetrated by their service providers against persons who are disabled; one story examines the result of today´s rehabilitation practitioners to force community inclusion upon both persons who are disabled and the community.
Chapter Five: the story teller´s conclusions on being an irregular person and the lessons that can be learned from knowing and working beside other irregular people.