Stories Of Ability

Our success is measured one person at a time. We invite you to learn about these stories of ability and hear, in their own words, how the people we serve are achieving their goals for independent living, employment and happiness.

Philip

When Philip turned 24 he knew it was time to move out of his family home and into a place of his own. He had a lot to learn but since coming to Ability Beyond, his independence has grown tremendously. Hear how technology is helping Philip achieve his goals.

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Susan

Susan lived the majority of her life moving around from one institutional setting to another. Her dream was to one day have a forever home where there were people who would love her and take care of her. At the age of 54, Ability Beyond helped to make that dream a reality.

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Bill

After graduating from high school Bill was determined to get a job. His goal was to be employed by a major corporation where he would be valued and have the chance to continue to learn and grown. Hear his story of how Ability Beyond helped him make his dream come true.

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Scott

When we first met Scott, he was a single father struggling to provide for his family. He had lost his job, his wife and his home, and on top of it all was battling bi-polar disorder.
If you met Scott today you would not know just how bad things had been. Scott grew up in a loving family, married the woman of his dreams, joined the Marine Corps and had three beautiful children that meant the world to him. Life was good – or so it seemed.

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For Scott, things seemed to be much different. Scott was struggling to cope with a mental illness that was slowing taking control over his life.

A short time after joining the Marine Corps to fulfill a lifelong dream to protect and serve his country, Scott was injured and unable to fulfill his duty. Scott had failed his country – or so he felt. After returning home, Scott struggled to keep a job bouncing from one part time job to another.  It became increasingly difficult for Scott to provide for his family. Once again, Scott had failed, this time it was his family – or so he felt. Then the final blow came when his wife left him. Scott had failed his marriage this time – or so he felt.

Now with only a part time job and nobody to share the expenses with, Scott lost his home. Scott had failed himself – or so he felt.
Paralyzed by immense feelings of failure, Scott was at an all-time low. Scott didn’t know where to turn for help in getting his life back in order. He knew getting a steady job would be the first step in rebuilding his life. That’s where his story with Ability Beyond begins.
Scott came to us looking for help. He knew that he needed a full time career job, and he knew he couldn’t do it alone.

“I was being told ‘no’ everywhere I turned…I was afraid to fail.” says Scott.

Our dedicated staff helped him overcome the challenges that stood in the way of his success, working with him to perfect his résumé and master interviews. His fear of failure was soon replaced with confidence and determination.

After a short time of working with one of our employment specialists, Scott got a job in building maintenance. A job he really enjoys. A job that is helping him rebuild his life. Scott has been there for almost a year now; he just moved in to an apartment of his own with his son, and he achieved his goal of becoming self-sufficient once again.

“My ultimate goal is to buy my own house.” he says.

Scott is very much a positive part of all of his children’s lives and his community. He coaches his son’s football team and is adored by his two adult daughters.

Brian

For Cathleen Sulli’s son, Ability Beyond has made a world of difference. Brian receives In-Home services from Ability Beyond to work on life skills and behavioral supports.
Brian is 15 years old and is in his first year high school. But Brian is not your average teenager. Brian has Downs Syndrome and is also a survivor of cancer. At three years old, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

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As a result, Brian has gone through chemotherapy and over 25 surgeries. Due to Brian’s developmental disability and having such a challenging childhood, he needs a lot of help with life skills, social skills, and his overall behavior.

“Before, Brian had many difficulties interacting with his peers and with being out in the community,” says his mother. “I couldn’t go through the line at the grocery store without a behavior.”

Brian also had difficulty cooperating in school. “It is common that he would sit on the floor and refuse to get up,” she said.

Brian’s mother wanted him to be a part of the community, so she began exploring what outlets may be available to help – that is when she turned to the In-Home Services at Ability Beyond.

The In-Home staff who work with Brian engage him in recreation activities in the community. They often go to book stores, the library, and even bowling. The purpose is to get Brian out having fun, but staff also use this time to show him what behaviors are appropriate in the community and how to interact with others. Brian’s family and staff members have seen a lot of positive growth.

“It has brought a world of difference. I feel as though the help from Ability Beyond has lessoned the impact his disability will have on his life.” says his mother.

Justin

“Ability Beyond has so many things that can help kids with getting a job and keeping a job.  The think I like most is that the Staff is very helpful in the way that they teach to make things seem less difficult. I have learned how to use the Internet to get job info off the Internet.  I have since applied for many jobs at local stores and restaurants and have learned what to say in an interview.

We have also done some graphic designs for Roses For Autism and have learned programs such as Photoshop.  The only other thing I can say is that ever since I have been at Ability Beyond, I have learned that once you get a job you need to listen to your supervisor and co-workers.  You will go far if you work well with them.”

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We have also done some graphic designs that we would do for Ability Beyond projects and have learned programs such as Photoshop.

The only other thing I can say is that ever since I have been at DLW I have learned that once you get a job you need to listen to your supervisor and co-workers. You will go far if you work well with them.”

Courtney

Like every 24-year-old, Courtney dreamed of having her own apartment. She wanted her own place where she can feel completely independent and have more freedom. Until recently, Courtney was living with her grandmother but had been working with staff at Ability Beyond for over a year to find an apartment through the Supported Independent Living (SIL) program. We worked with Courtney to find funding sources and locate an apartment that would suit her needs.

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Today, Courtney has her own apartment in Danbury, close to many stores and landmarks in the city. Courtney is excited to cook for herself, invite friends over, and become an adult in the community. Courtney says she was most excited about being able to decorate her home how she likes. She bought lamps, posters, furniture and everything necessary to make it her own.

Although Courtney will live independently, Ability Beyond SIL, staff will provide 2-4 hours of service a week. Staff will also help her with transportation to medical appointments, recreation activities, and case management. In addition, she is also working with an Employment Specialist through our Career Development department to find a job.

Courtney enjoys going shopping and out to the movies. She is involved with People First of Danbury, an advocacy group for people with disabilities. Courtney says she likes helping and working with people and wants a job in retail or food service where she can work with customers.

Leon

It took 25-year-old Leon over a year of applications, resumes, and interviews but finally he found a job he loves. Leon is a Certified Nurses Assistant (CNA) at Candlewood Valley Rehab in New Milford, CT. Leon has worked there for a little over a year now.
When Leon came to Ability Beyond for Employment Services in 2008, he knew that he wanted to be a CNA and worked with an Employment Specialist on resume building and interviewing skills.

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After nearly seven months of classes, Leon received his CNA certification from Med Care Training. “The final exam was hard,” Leon says. “But I studied a lot.”

Leon wanted to become a CNA because he loves helping people. “My favorite part of the job is helping patients with their care,” says Leon. Leon has a caseload of 6-10 patients each shift. Many of the patients Leon cares for have Alzheimer’s disease and he finds working with them to be a very rewarding experience. Recently, Leon was even awarded Candlewood Valley Rehab’s Employee of The Month!

Leon is a great example of persistence and determination. Before Leon’s success at his current job, he heard a lot of “no” from employers and he had a job experience that didn’t work out. Leon says that this never discouraged him. “I just kept trying.” he said.

Katie

“Many people say that 13 is an unlucky number but I always liked the number 13. After I was comatose for 13 months after being in a motor vehicle accident I consider it my lucky number. It’s my lucky number because although I woke up to a life different than I had planned, I am still alive and happy.”
“I was in the accident when I was a senior at St. Michael’s College. I was studying Spanish and had an extreme love for learning.

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I had suffered a traumatic brain injury and now have a short-term memory deficit. I have difficulty remembering what I do from one day to the next and the names of new people I meet but that doesn’t stop me from doing things I love to do.

Through Ability Beyond’s Day Program I can continue my love of learning by visiting museums and being part of a program called the “Explore Program.”

Though the Explore Program I take classes in cooking, music, and make crafts and Jewelry. I even teach a Spanish lesson! Each day, as the opening activity, I teach the group a new Spanish word.

I also live in an Ability Beyond group home. Because of this, I always feel safe and my mother doesn’t worry about me so much. When I see her every Sunday I can tell her about all the things I did during the week and she knows I’m doing well. I love all of the staff I work with and have been able to share new things with people and meet many friends.

To help me remember, I carry a memory log with me so that staff can write what I did each day. I review it at night and it helps me improve my memory. Ability Beyond helps me to continue my love for life and learning.

Glenn

Glenn was just a kid when one unexpected moment changed his life forever. Glenn fell off the back of a lawn mower. His father performed CPR, which saved his life. His parents knew; however, that as a result of the brain injury he sustained, their lives would never be the same.
Glenn has lived at an Ability Beyond group home for almost 22 years. Here, he has been able to build a full life amidst the challenges he faces as a result of his injury.

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All you have to do is spend a few minutes with Glenn to learn that he is quite the character! He truly is a unique individual. Glenn loves to impersonate voices of actors and cartoon characters; he loves to draw and his favorite activity is swimming.

Glenn’s parents live in Rhode Island, so over the years his housemates and staff have become his second family. As both Glenn and his parents get older, everyone can rest easy knowing that he will always be safe and well cared for; surrounded by friends in an environment that will continue to help him lead a full life.