6STUDENT FACTSBEYONDOUR WALLSLIFE AFTER HEARTSPRING<<Former Heartspring School student, Brandon, returned for a visit ten years after his transition. Brandon started the school program in 1996. His parents cried as they dropped him off, and he responded with “Don’t worry, it’s a good thing.” And a good thing it was. During his time at Heartspring, Brandon was the first student to transition into a local high school. He eventually became a full-time student at North High School, where he received his high school diploma. Brandon was back in Wichita in September to celebrate his 10 year reunion.Today, Brandon lives in Illinois in a group home in the community. He started working at the Illinois Department of Transportation in what was originally an unpaid training position. However, he was recently added to the payroll! Brandon is also a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities and often does speaking engagements on behalf of the Springfield ARC (SPARC). He recently spoke in front of 365 people at a campaign kick-off event. (Above) Brandon stands next to an art piece created in 1997 by the Heartspring students. Each student made a self-portrait out of clay. Brandon mimicks his clay figure as he raises his hand.17 STUDENTS16 YEARS OLD53 STUDENTSFROM KANSASCURRENTLY ENROLLEDAVERAGE AGE OF STUDENTSAUTISM<<MOST COMMON DIAGNOSIS(Above) Brandon had the opportunity to visit staff members that used to work with him during his time at Heartspring. (Pictured) Workshop Coordinator Cheryl O’Brien and Lead Paraeducator Lisa Jones.6
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