On Friday, May 27, 2016, our son, Tayair Ishmael Blake participated in a Convocation held at the University of Delaware where he received a Certificate of Successful Completion of Career and Life Studies (CLSC).
He along with his fellow classmates were part of the ceremony which also included hundreds of graduating students receiving an undergraduate and graduate degree from the College of Education and Human Development. Oh by the way, there was a gentleman who received his degree at the age of 64 which was also awesome!
If you remember from previous posts, due to Tayair’s early medical history he is classified as Intellectually Disabled, but you also know from his recent presentation at a staff meeting at the Delaware Health and Social Services his motto “Being Disabled Does Not Mean We Are Not Able”. The events of the day is only further proof that anything can be done when you decide not to give up.
Needless to say, his father and I were super excited as was his brother and even the misspelling of his name on the certificate couldn’t put a damper on the day.
There are also more pictures on my Facebook and Instgram pages.
I could write more about the event, however, for this post I am just going to let the pictures and video speak louder than my words!
Being Silly Before Being Serious!
This sums up the day!
For more information on the CLSC Program check out their website
The CLSC program offers specialized coursework in career studies and life skills, as well as other inclusive learning opportunities on campus, including participation in UD undergraduate classes, clubs and activities. An individualized plan is created with each student that includes peer mentoring, staff coaching and support as identified through person-centered planning.
Next month, our oldest son Tayair will be celebrating his 24th birthday which is a miracle.
You see, Tayair was born on June 23, 1992, 3 months prematurely weighing only 2.8 lbs, with a condition called Trachea Esophageal Fistula. He had more surgeries than I care to remember and had a feeding tube inserted into his stomach until the age of 5, which meant he didn’t eat his first real meal until around the age of 6.
He was not able to be around others without health complications so a home nurse was his first friend and formal teacher. When he was able to attend pre-school the nurse would follow behind the bus then sit in the office until it was time to administer his nebulizer treatments and pour a can of Pedisure through his feeding tube which was his lunch.
Tayair struggled through school but was mainstreamed into regular classes so that he was able to learn despite being labeled “intellectually disabled” This miracle son of ours is going to be the next speaker in our house.
A few weeks ago we attended a meeting with his DHSS counselor and she was very impressed in what he stated with regards to his career path as well as his ability to create Powerpoint presentations. He had been chosen to be a representative for the UDel CLSC Program last summer and had presented at a workshop in Virginia.
She asked him if he would be interested in presenting at one of their monthly staff meetings and naturally he said, “yes”.
Tayair’s father and I have been presenting in front of audiences for years and Tayair has been the photographer at many of my Social Media Workshops, therefore, public speaking is literally in his DNA.
However, this was the first time we both had an opportunity to hear him speak and our hearts were filled with pride and excitement!
The audience was quite large and he did an amazing job as you can see from the following video. Tayair spoke briefly of his experience in learning how to drive and being stopped by a cop for speeding and how the Trooper treated him.
His father and I were then asked how we felt about having an adult child with disabilities and letting go so the presentation became a family affair.
Tayair is definitely destined to be the next speaker in our house and I know he will carry on the legacy with greatness. Remember, “being disabled doesn’t mean you are not able!”