The entire Weaver family benefited from the
Early Intervention Services they received at Abilities United

Jana Weaver wrote and presented this speech at the Abilities United 50th Anniversary Recognition event on April 25, 2013.

When our son Jackson was young and diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy I had no idea what I was doing. I spoke with Gina Rayfield and she told me “get to Abilities United!”

That was the best advice – thanks Gina! Abilities United really helped me find connections to other families facing similar issues. And like Gina expressed, having those connections, and the support from the staff in the Early Intervention program was like a new lifeline. Suddenly, we weren’t alone.

That early start from Abilities United has helped us all in so many ways. Jackson learned his first independence during early intervention group which enabled him to easily transition to preschool. He and his friends inspired my husband to develop products which help them live more independent and enriching lives. We see technology as a true equalizer in the lives of people with differing abilities. We’ve all seen the YouTube video of the boy with special needs in Texas playing basketball and the high schooler with Cerebral Palsy winning a wrestling match (and if you haven’t visit the Abilities United facebook page!) and these viral videos of people with different abilities are tearing down the barriers. When I was my daughters’ age (30 plus years ago) the world was not so accepting. I can only imagine what the next 30 years will bring.

For the future, who knows what technology Jackson will have at his command. Today, people use various social media to stay connected and tablets to control their TVs and lights. Tomorrow he may have a speech recognition system that is attuned to his voice and “accent” to control his physical world, allowing him to complete tasks otherwise too difficult to do in a time-effective manner – opening up his career options.

But in the end it isn’t about the technology itself, but what it does for us. By allowing Jackson to live more independently he can also live more happily, and I know these early connections at Abilities United have helped put him (and all of us!) on the right track.