When I first married my good wife, there was a young girl in our extended family, named Chelsea. She clearly had a lot of disabilities, and things were very difficult for her family (my brother- and sister-in-law). Even to this day, I’m not fully aware of just what her full list of diagnosis are, but she’s missing a part of chromosome 18. As a result, she’s very short, and her spine is misaligned. She’s had many issues in her cognitive development, and she struggles with her fine and gross motor skills.
When she was very young, she had surgery to repair her cleft palate, and after that she found she could communicate. I saw her go from a shy and isolated soul to a happy and chatty little girl in a matter of weeks. Even though she still speaks very slow and slurred, the fact that she was able to begin speaking opened up her world.
I’ve watched her grow up and graduate from school. She’s had various jobs, including shampooer at a hair salon. Her jobs are difficult, because she tires easily, but her coworkers have always commented on her diligence.
In the early years, nobody expected her to live to be a teenager. Then they said she might not live to see 20. Now she’s 28. Over the years, she has brought much joy to our family.
I was a little surprised to see her profiled on the news, but not at all surprised to see what they said about her. Check it out.
Here's the link to the page of the original report.
Having said all this wonderful stuff about her, it’s time for me to get up on my soapbox again, especially as the state legislature is busy determining the fates of many of us like Jacob and Chelsea. DSPD (the Division of Services for People with Disabilities) set Chelsea up with her current job. Chelsea is a productive, helpful member of society. Yes, she requires services and aid, but she gives, too, in very practical ways.
Many of Utah’s disabled are contributing in many ways, many practical ways. It’s vital that DSPD get the funding it needs to continue to help the state’s disabled population be able to serve and function.