Meet Hunter, an energetic, kind hearted, compassionate and intelligent thriving eight-year-old boy who loves presidents, being with friends and all things Star Wars. If you spoke with Hunter today, you would probably never know he struggled to speak or even form words at one time.
Hunter’s journey with DSC began right after his first birthday. As a baby he had started to babble some and even said a few first words but just as quickly as it all started, it stopped. Those words he first mumbled were quickly forgotten. A family member had told us about Early Intervention (EI) services and we decided to look into the program to see if they could give us more information or suggestions for our toddler. We had a full evaluation where it was determined Hunter qualified for speech and language services along with some developmental therapy services.
To read more about Hunter's story, Click Here.
Despite Mother Nature throwing us a curve ball, this year's event held on Saturday, October 6th was a huge success! We hope all party-goers had a wonderful time! We are pleased and excited to announce that this year the total amount raised from Oktoberfest was $40,000!! So many volunteer hours and effort went into making this event happen, we want to thank everyone involved. We are excited about the fun we had and are already looking forward to next year! If you have comments or suggestions, please share them by contacting Evan Burie, Special Events & Marketing Coordinator, at email@example.com. Until next year, PROST!
2018 marks the 25th Anniversary of DSC’s Tree of Hope Campaign – a milestone year when we are celebrating 25 years of success in our history. As part of our celebration, we are sharing a few of DSC’s favorite family memories. We hope you enjoy this special Meet Me On Monday story!
Meet The Webbers!
The Webber family was featured as our Tree of Hope Spokesfamily in 1996 when Alex was 5 years old. One day after birth, Alex experienced an episode of breathing apnea, which was only the beginning of challenges faced in reaching major development milestones. Their pediatrician referred them to DSC for evaluation and therapy services. They worked often with Judy, DSC’s Children’s Specialist who would come to their home and to their daycare for physical and speech therapy support services. The daycare provider loved Judy because she didn’t just work with Alex, but she also worked with the other children in supporting Alex. Alex’s mother, Jane Webber, expressed “When Alex turned four, I heard him say ‘I love you’ for the first time. I became very grateful at that moment for all the support provided through DSC.”
“One of the challenges you face as a parent of a child with a disability, is that it can feel like ‘We haven’t done enough,’ but we always had a good support system with DSC and our pediatrician.” Judy assisted the family with researching solutions and would come back to them with suggestions. When it was time to transition to school, DSC was once again the family’s support and helped prepare them for that environment. In fact, they attribute some of Alex’s early successes in school to his time at DSC. For example, kids with Autism, as a rule, are not known for being social. However, Alex was quite social in school, and still is today.
Alex shared with us that he has fond memories of attending school. He especially enjoyed doing activities like helping build his high school homecoming float and attending the football games. Alex has grown up to be independent and proud of the freedom that he is now able to experience in his adulthood. Today, Alex is living on his own in DSC’s apartment complex, C-U Independence. “I like my freedom. I can come and go whenever I want. I like my friends and it’s a nice neighborhood.” When we asked him about his future, Alex says he hopes that he is able to get married and have kids one day. He also works four days a week at the University of Illinois Transfer Station. “I’m a big spender. I like to buy clothes and movies. I want to buy a house,” he said.
We also talked with Alex’s Dad, Roger Webber, who said that their family is excited to be here and supporting DSC again in this way. He too remembers that day when they learned of Alex’s disability. “As a Dad, you have these preconceived ideas in the back of your mind about what fatherhood is going to look like. I was really athletic growing up. I had to come to terms with the fact that Alex might not play high school sports and I might not be the Dad who coached his little league team. You have to say to yourself, ‘Okay, so what is this going to look like and what is the next best thing for him?’ You deal with it and make the best of it.”
Roger stated that Alex has exceeded their expectations. “We knew he would be able to live independently when we saw what he was able to do with his MTD Dash Pass in high school. He learned to utilize it to the fullest, and that’s when we knew.”
“Now that Alex is out on his own, I do get to be that coach, but in a different way.” Roger told us that they try to use every moment as a teaching moment because they know that they won’t always be available and want to continue to see him grow in his independence and that’s something all parents think about. They continue to challenge him, even today. “So, if he calls us by default when he’s having a problem with a faucet at the apartment, the first thing we ask him is ‘did you already call the Apartment Manager?’”
When asked if they had any advice for other parents going through a similar experience, the Webbers said, “Find others who have been through it and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Know you’re not alone. It was us learning to let go which was so hard once Alex was able to move out and live independently. We’re very proud of Alex and love him very much.”
Click below to enjoy the latest issue of the DSC Community News newsletter!
DSC and Community Choices are collaborating through the creation of LEAP (Leaders Employing All People) to advance the Employment First initiative.
Rockwell Automation was one of our first LEAP trained businesses, and when asked why they decided to become LEAP trained, Ms.Marty Miner, Senior Human Resource Representative, shared, “It’s just the right thing to do.” In working to make Champaign County an even more disability inclusive community, we are offering businesses to receive this training through the hiring, or interest in hiring, people with disabilities. For more information about LEAP contact Jamika Smith Employment First/LEAP Coordinator at 356-9176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Ace Hardware Store for becoming LEAP certified!
LEAP stands for Leaders in Employing All People and is a free, 1-hr training offered to employers to educate them on best practices for employing a person with a disability in their business. DSC offers a variety of educational resources and tools to employers. If you’d like more information, contact DSC Employment First/LEAP Coordinator, Jamika Smith at email@example.com or 217-356-9176.
Well we have just the thing for you! DSC Business Operations center recycles all kinds of cardboard and paper - including magazines, catalogs, office paper, etc. - as part of our effort to keep the environment clean and financially support DSC's programs. (We do not accept books at this time).
You can bring your recyclable paper to DSC’s Business Operations at 3102 W Clark Rd in Champaign, 8am—4pm, M-F. From Duncan, turn west onto Clark Rd (just north of Springfield). Turn right to go behind DSC’s Business Operations facility to drop off your items at the back loading dock door.
Our staff strives to provide quality supports and services to consumers, their families, and fellow employees each and every day and they deserved to be recognized for their exemplary work!
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