“I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs. My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.” –Nick Vujicic
College options for people with intellectual disability
What is Think College?
Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disabilities. With a commitment to equity and excellence, Think College supports evidence-based and student-centered research and practice by generating and sharing knowledge, guiding institutional change, informing public policy, and engaging with students, professionals and families.
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living
At a Glance
The Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is a national grassroots, nonprofit membership organization consisting of over 260 members from Centers for Independent Living, their satellites and branch offices, Statewide Independent Living Councils, Youth Leadership Forums, and other organizations and individuals concerned with the independent living issues of people with disabilities living in rural America. APRIL was founded in 1986 by twelve directors of rural CILs at a meeting in Houston, Texas. In 1994, APRIL attained its 501(C)(3) status and hired a national coordinator.
As a national membership organization, APRIL is dedicated to advancing the rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities in rural America by serving as a center of resources and by leading systems change. This is achieved through training and technical assistance programs including: a national conference and youth conference, peer mentoring programs, information and referral, IL conversation teleconference series, Youth Talk teleconference and Facebook chat series, Growing Leadership and Succession Planning work-group, knowledge translation advising, and dissemination through a list serv and social media. We also achieve our mission with our advocacy and collaboration including: leadership opportunities for youth with disabilities, rural advocacy work groups and initiatives, and partnerships and work plans with national Research and Training Centers, AgrAbility, and other allied national organizations.
In a small East Texas town where the pace of life is somewhat slower and the chances of knowing your neighbor is quite high, a young man is making a difference for people diagnosed with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis (LCH). LCH is a rare cancer that may occur at any age but is most common in young children and begins in the LCH cells. These cells are a type of white blood cell that normally help the body fight infection.
Taylor along with his mother, Mindy, have first-hand knowledge of this rare disease. At the age of 13 months, Taylor and Mindy began their journey with multi-system LCH when he received his diagnosis. After multiple rounds of chemo and steroids for two and a half years, he went into remission. Then in 2003 Taylor relapsed. This time the disease found its way into his brain.
At that time, Taylor began seeing Dr. Kenneth McClain, a leading LCH specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, his disease process did not respond well to treatment, leaving him with numerous disabilities. A new member to Taylor’s health care team is Zeke the Wonder Dog, his service animal, who rides on his lap. Zeke has been a huge asset for Taylor assisting with the emotional disabilities associated with LCH.
Despite the challenges they have faced as a family, which include trying to make ends meet as they travel back and forth to Houston, Taylor has always wanted to help others first. Every year on his birthday he chooses a different theme for his party; the party is actually a fund raiser for the Histio CURE Foundation. Instead of bringing a gift, each party goer makes a donation for the cure. Taylor was not satisfied with just that one fundraiser; he wanted to do more. He began raising money for gift cards for his fellow Histio warriors. These gift cards go to help ease the burden of food for families that are at Texas Children’s Hospital. The note to these families simply says “Have lunch on Taylor”.
Taylor is currently on two treatments for his LCH and spends quite a bit of time at Texas Children’s Hospital. He loves the Histio team and all the nurses. The hospital is definitely his home away from home.
You can follow Taylor’s progress battling LCH and provide encouragement on his Facebook page “Taylor VS Histio.”