By: Jamie Hardt, Program Director
In the last year I had the pleasure to work with a very fun and dedicated individual. Creighton Reed was born with cerebral palsy, when he communicates he uses his own animated sign language, along with his mobile device. Creighton recently moved to North Dakota from Washington State with his family. Since his move he has taken many steps to become independent, he credits the services in North Dakota for helping him reach his goals of getting his license and working with tractors or trucks.
When I first met Creighton he told me about the lack of services he received in Washington. He took out his phone and played a popular song from the 90’s for me, Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. He said that the lyric in the song explained his situation. “They say I gotta learn, but nobody’s here to teach me. If they can’t understand it, how can the reach me”. When he was in school he was mainstreamed and put in special education classes where he did not learn the same as his other peers. He said “I am smart, but they (teachers) didn’t know how to work with me.” When Creighton moved to North Dakota he became involved with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) to help him seek a career that highlights his strengths. Through VR, Creighton found about Independence, Inc. and contacted us to help him study for his permit test. After many months of dedication and hard work, he passed his permit test! Soon after some practice on the road with his family, Creighton let me know that he got his driver’s license. This new freedom has allowed him to drive back and forth to work at Tuff Trucks where he assists the mechanics. Creighton praises Independence, Inc. for helping him with his goal but it was the hard work he put forth that made him successful in the end.