Imagine, if you can, being told that your child, at ten months of age has a neurological defect so rare that it only affects 1 in 100,000 children. You hope and believe she will be just fine until she is two and the early childhood “learning” center you’ve enrolled her in tells you she can’t be in anything more advanced than the infant room because her wheelchair, walker, and stander make her a “safety hazard”.
Perhaps you immediately pull your child out of that center and pray to whatever higher being you call God to bless your child with the opportunity to simply be a child. Then you make a key phone call:
“We would love to have your child.”
“But what about her equipment?” “Can I bring it?”
“Won’t it be a hazard? The other school said it would be a hazard.”
“Emory is not a hazard. She is a child.”
“But, I’m a single mom. I’m not sure I can afford it.”
“We can provide you with a scholarship to cover a portion of the cost.”
If Easter Seals Blake Foundation’s Children’s Achievement Center did not exist, or if they were not able to offer tuition assistance, Emory would still be in the other school, or one like it, being told she was not worthy of learning because she couldn’t walk, or because she wasn’t potty trained, or did not have the ability to speak. Children’s Achievement Center allows Emory’s therapists to conduct therapy there in her primary learning environment. If Children’s Achievement Center did not allow this, I would not be able to work because I would constantly be having to take Emory to outside therapy appointments.
Because the Children’s Achievement Center exists, Emory happily knows what it feels like to be included with her typically developing peers. Easter Seals Blake Foundation’s Children’s Achievement Center sees Emory as EMORY, not as her disability.
Story submitted by Emory's mom, Adiba Nelson.