Devin is just an ordinary guy. Like so many young men in their early 30’s, he has a good job, a girlfriend, goes out dancing, loves music and movies, and adores Justin Timberlake. His slightly sarcastic sense of humor and playful nature make Devin fun to be around. Everyone likes him – a very nice guy.
It didn’t start out that way though. His mother, Claudia, remembers clearly the moment when, 10 days after Devin’s birth, she learned that he had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Her doctor gave her materials that explicitly stated “when your child is older, he will be institutionalized.” Desperate, Claudia sought advice from other parents and The Arc of King County, who recommended Northwest Center.
When Devin was nine months old, he began therapy with the Northwest Center Early Intervention team while attending Northwest Center’s inclusive Early Learning program. His therapists taught Devin sign language, helped him learn to sit, and developed his motor skills by playing with a therapy ball. “Northwest Center was a lifesaver for us,” says Claudia.
Years later, Devin returned to Northwest Center to participate in its innovative School-to-Work (S2W) program for high school students transitioning into the work force. After six months of training and preparation, Devin found his dream job at Red Robin and has been happily employed there for almost 10 years.
Getting to “ordinary” was not always easy, and Claudia admits she had doubts. Discouraged by an unfortunate experience with another employment vendor, Claudia says “Northwest Center picked up on those barriers right away.”
That Northwest Center supported Devin and Claudia through two of the most critical periods in Devin’s life is no surprise. It is what we do and why we exist. Because the world needs everyone, especially ordinary guys like Devin.
Northwest Center is passionate about equal rights, anti-ableism, and full inclusion for people with disabilities. Thank you for reading.