The desire to be heard and acknowledged by those around us is universal. Sometimes we forget that individuals with intellectual disabilities have the same desires as everyone else, and being acknowledged is one of them! Each day, the staff of Suburban Access advocates for individuals with intellectual disabilities to be acknowledged, assisted, and given access to important services. Nineteen-year-old Jake, a client of Suburban Access, recently had a wonderful opportunity to be acknowledged during a trip to Washington D.C. where he was able to talk about his autism with representatives of Senator Dick Durbin and Representative Bobby Rush. Jake wore an autism awareness tie featuring puzzle pieces to the meeting, and explained to those in attendance that each day of his life resembles trying to put puzzle pieces together. While others in the room spoke of facts and statistics to encourage legislators to increase funding for individuals with disabilities, Senator Durbin’s representative shared that it was Jake’s heartfelt speech describing how he experiences autism that was the most moving and memorable moment.
Jake’s mother, Kathleen, describes him as energetic and enthusiastic, great with technology, and, most importantly, an amazing and caring younger brother to Colin, who also has intellectual disabilities. Suburban Access has had the privilege of working to secure services and placement for Jake and Colin, and Laura Bailey is one of the service coordinators at Suburban Access who has worked closely with Jake and Colin and their family for the past ten years. Kathleen describes Laura’s work with their family as “phenomenal” and notes how meaningful it is to Jake when Laura calls to check on him between visits to their home. Laura is beginning to work with the family on preparing for Jake’s transition out of the school system and into adult services, another important milestone for Jake and his family.
The generosity of supporters is vital to the work of Suburban Access as our staff helps coordinate care for over 4,000 families in south and west Suburban Cook County. This holiday season, will you give a gift to Suburban Access that will help the staff continue the work of advocating for individuals with intellectual disabilities to be acknowledged and assisted? Please use the donation button below to give your tax deductible gift. The staff of Suburban Access wishes you and yours a new year filled with hope and peace!