For those that know Matthew, it is apparent that he is a delightful, hilarious, hard-working young man with an infectious personality and a career he loves. What they may not know is the journey he took to get to this point.
At birth, his parents received news that no family wants to hear— their newborn son’s life would be full of complications. He was diagnosed with Apert Syndrome, a congenital disorder characterized by malformations of the skull, face, hands, and feet.
Matthew’s mother, Catherine, immediately began to advocate for her child. He started receiving Early Intervention services and later speech and occupational therapy. She emphasized, “It is so important for parents to be an advocate for your child from day one.”
Matthew has overcome every challenge his disability has thrown at him. “Most people thought he wouldn’t end up as a success story, but he has,” said Catherine.
The Journey Begins with Transition Services
Matthew’s first contact with United Ability was as a student at Mountain Brook High School. He spent two summers taking part in our Summer Programs at St. Vincent’s and Brookwood Hospitals. Matthew knew he wanted to work in the medical field.
“I appreciate so much that United Ability looked at Matthew and his unique capabilities. In his first summer, they pulled him out of cafeteria duty and found a place where he could do data entry. The fact that United Ability was willing to look at him as a unique individual with a special set of skills and help develop those skills, that made a huge difference to him and to me,” said Catherine.
Never give up
Matthew’s determination was evident when he and his Employment Specialist began a job search during the Coronavirus Crisis— Matthew did not give up. He faced the challenge of finding his first full-time job in the same way he has conquered his other challenges: with a brilliant mind, unshakeable determination, and a heart of gratitude.
Katie Dumais, Director of Employment Services, said, “I’m so proud of Matthew for landing his job at Children’s Hospital. It is everything we worked for during the summers.”
His mother attributes a great deal of her son’s career success to the opportunities United Ability provided, stating, “Matthew was able to find a career as a result of his pre-employment training and experience in the hospitals. All because of United Ability.”
His success is a true testament to the programs YOU support.