Ewan Black, a four-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder, has recently had a whole new world of communication and interaction open up to him thanks to the determination of his family, the therapy team at ARC Broward, and the generosity of a Make-A-Wish Foundation donor. Ewan has Freeman Sheldon Syndrome, a rare disorder that causes severe muscle weakness and malformation of his face, arms and legs. Because of his disability, Ewan requires a tracheotomy tube to breathe, is unable to move his head or neck in any direction, and has limited movement of his arms and legs. He also cannot speak, point, gesture, write, type or indicate if he is happy, sad, in pain, cannot call his mother, interact with his parents or sibling, indicate a need, make a request, ask a question or make a comment.
Ewan's team at ARC Broward was convinced that he has abilities and understanding that he is not able to demonstrate since he is trapped in a body that hinders his ability to communicate or interact with the world. Ewan's Speech/Language Pathologist learned about a highly specialized assistive technology device, which uses an eye-gaze system as a means of communication. Then ARC Broward was able to acquire one of these devices on loan in order to do trials. After special calibration for Ewan's eyes and only a brief introduction, Ewan seemed to immediately be able to follow directions to make a choice or activate a cause/effect reaction simply by moving his eyes. He appeared to understand and reveal true potential to functionally use his device for nearly an hour! Therapists believed that the device would also allow him to demonstrate his full cognitive potential. This was the first time that any of the therapists, classroom staff, nurse, or the family had seen such a high level of engagement in activities.
On April 8, 2015, Ewan was presented with the $20,000 device by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the generous donor who sponsored the wish. ARC Broward staff and Ewan's family held a small celebration at the preschool for the donor, and Ewan was able to demonstrate how he can now communicate through eye-gaze device.
Ciarah has been enrolled in the ARC Broward School of HIRE Education since November 2013. She selected to focus her studies in the child care career track, which is one of five career tracks offered at the school. As a result of the hands-on training she received, she was hired by ARC Broward's preschool to work as a teacher's assistant. She has maintained her employment on a part-time basis and continues her enrollment in school. Besides earning a paycheck and increasing her independence and self-sufficiency, Ciarah is learning important child care techniques and best practices.
She has successfuly passed the child care licensing module of child care facility rules and regulations, and is currently studying the module for child growth and development. Ciarah is a role model to her peers and is blazing down the pathway to a successful future!
The youngest foodie in his family, Dean came to the ARC Broward Culinary Institute with an affection for both food and cooking. Bubbling with personality, Dean works well independently and in a team.
Taking his studies very seriously, Dean's dream was to work beside his brother, a professional chef in New York City. His dream came true when his brother relocated to South Florida and they both started working at Valentino Cucina Italina in Fort Lauderdale. Dean prepares the mise en place and labels containers with the contents, along with other important tasks for those he supports. Most recently, Dean worked alongside celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein at a private dinner for 24 ARC Broward supporters.
Dean's is just one of the many students' lives who are constantly changed for the better through the ARC Broward Culinary Institute. For more information about enrolling in the ARC Broward Culinary Institute, visit www.arcbrowardlearning.com and for catering information, visit www.arcbrowardculinary.com.
The ARC Broward Culinary Institute uses food as a tool to transform lives and build stronger communities. The nonprofit catering program creates outstanding culinary experiences and provides real-world job training for the graduates of the entry level culinary arts certificate program.