Cody is a 19 year old man who lives in Elk Grove. He is a young
man with a big, joyful personality. He “doesn’t let a little Down
Syndrome get in his way”! His passion is dance. When he attended
high school, he danced all the time. At lunch break he would
participate in dance contests which were enjoyed by all the
students. This summer, he achieved one of his dreams. He
auditioned for the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance. His
audition was featured on the TV show.
Sharon is a 16 year old who lives in Woodland. She has autism and
has worked her way from receiving instruction only in the special
day classroom to full inclusion in mainstream Woodland Senior
High School. She completed her sophomore year with a GPA of 3.43.
She took Jazz Band, Concert Band, Chamber Singers, Ag Chemistry,
Spanish II, English 9, and Algebra 1. While she is 1 grade level
behind in English, she was not given any accommodation or
alteration for academic measure; she was expected to be the same
as her typically developing peers.
Pattie is a 27 year old woman who lives in Sacramento. During the
first four years of attending Short Center South she had a very
difficult time following directions and not causing physical
fights with others. This year, she has demonstrated an excellent
overall adjustment to the art program by not exhibiting any
serious maladaptive behaviors toward other individuals. She did
have a severe history of aggressive verbal behavior toward
others. She is currently assisting others in controlling their
tempers and articulating to them to exhibit more appropriate
Alfreda is a 49 year old woman who lives in Sacramento. She has
faced multiple health issues and obstacles that have made her
life a challenge but continues to meet her goals. She was
diagnosed with kidney failure and as a result her right kidney
was removed. The next year she had a kidney transplant but a few
months later it was removed as her body rejected the kidney. She
has dialysis at home every day when she arrives home from her
work at Goodwill where she works three days a week. She struggles
with high blood pressure and congestive heart failure which
complicates her health issues.
Kelley is a 24 year old woman who lives in Rocklin. She has been
attending VTE/Futures Explored Practical Film and Media Workshop,
and has done exceptionally well. The program staff has praised
her editing skills. The staff says that she is professional,
adaptable, works well with her peers and is a joy to watch in
class. Because of her video editing skills, she has been asked to
participate in paid projects and internships in the community.
She has assisted to edit Doug Brauner’s Car Czar TV Show and
other special productions.
Kevin is 21 years old and lives in Sacramento. At the age of 5 he
was diagnosed with autism. He says “I love to paint. I don’t have
an academic background – what I do comes from my heart and I
developed my own techniques of watercolor with small amounts of
water and small brushes.” At age 10 he won first prize in the
Crocker Art High School competition. That summer he also had a
solo exhibit at the Crocker Art Museum. He has won numerous
prizes for his artwork. His art is now displayed in several
places including the Rancho Cucamonga Art Museum and Uplands Art
Evan is 24 years old and lives in South Lake Tahoe. He is a
happy, bright, kind, inquisitive, adventurous, and caring young
man. Despite a severe brain disorder, along with physical and
intellectual disabilities, he is determined to try and master
everything in life. He has critical food and drink issues, having
no physical or mental desire for either. He has maintained a
volunteer job at Grocery Outlet for over 3 years and has earned
an employee uniform. This year he has begun learning to prepare
his lunch and is showing pride and excitement accepting this
Dani is a 36 year old who lives in Carmichael. She is an
incredibly brave and lovely person. About 2 years ago she changed
her gender. At first she faced considerable bullying at her work
program. But her winning personality and refusal to give up
persevered and eventually won over the people that rejected her.
She’s practically the mayor now! Everyone knows and adores her in
her town. Through simply being herself, her program became an
environment of acceptance.
Edward is 49 years old and lives in South Lake Tahoe. This year,
he finally moved into his own place and is living independently.
One reason it may have taken him so long to achieve this goal is
because he was involved with the care of his grandfather in his
father’s home. Edward had regular days worked into his schedule
to care for his grandfather. After his grandfather passed, Edward
was ready to move forward to achieve his goal of living on his
own. He has been successful in establishing a Bottle Lamp Shop at
his day program. His next goal is to obtain his driver’s permit.
Julie is 34 years old and lives in Yuba City. She has become her
own payee; completely responsible for all her financial
obligations. She purchases money orders for her rent, PG&E,
AT&T before any other expenses. Julie is determined to learn
to read, she has been meeting with her tutor once a week for over
a year. She has advanced another grade level. She has also been
working on her math with her tutor.