International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Inspiration Turned to Action
Jennifer Asbill, Associate Planner in Distribution
Nothing prepares you for what to expect when you have a child with a disability. You could read all the books in the world, attend every support group out there, or seek out advice from the best professionals, but nothing truly prepares you for that experience.
Devin started school at age 3, with support and guidance from agencies like March of Dimes and Sooner Start of Oklahoma. Devin learned to speak with Signed Exact English (SEE)—a variant of American Sign Language used in schools to teach children to speak in English word order—and began speaking in a regular classroom by the age of 5. I started sign language classes at the age of 23.
Devin attended University of Arkansas, where he majored in Criminal Justice. During his time there, he advocated for himself, requested accommodations when he needed them, and represented not only the Deaf community, but represented what all parents long to see–a child who can advocate for himself and others.
Devin has come full circle. After graduation he returned to Mercy Hospital, dedicating his life to serving others in their Corporate Security division and working toward his dream job—a Police Officer with a sign language K9 dog as his partner—serving his community and keeping them safe.
I’ve always been inspired by Devin and his journey—seeing someone start off in this world needing the help of many, and now serving the needs of many.
Our BRG not only acts as support for internal team members, but is involved in giving back to local communities, as well. This week, we are hosting an event to help the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas with children in need. The shelter provides 24-hour residential, emergency triage care for children throughout Arkansas who are victims of abandonment, abuse or neglect. Volunteers will wrap fun items like card games and stress balls as well as personal care kits for tween and teenage shelter guests.
I am a mother of a child with a disability.
No one prepared me for it, but I am so very thankful that I have had the opportunity to watch my son grow into the man he has become. He has faced every challenge with courage, I continue to admire his dedication to God and his service to the community, doing what he loves—serving others.
Published December 3, 2018.
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