Our Story

Our son Jacob was born in 2000 and having him completely changed my life.  We did not know of his disability until he was 7 months of age. The prognosis the doctors gave us was that he would not live past 2 years of age. My husband and I knew that he would live past what the doctors had believed, and he would do so much more than they expected. Jacob is 14 years old right now, and is an amazing young man.  

As we were learning about Jake's disability we met many wonderful people along the way. We started two support groups at two different military installations. The groups consisted of many different families with children with various disabilities. When we recieved military orders to Nebraska, I met some amazing professionals that would teach me to take my experiences with my  son, and not only teach others but share with others. 

In 2010 my husband retired from the Air Force and I stayed in contact with one of those professionals in Nebraska by the name of Mark Smith. I had an epiphany in Spring 2010 of creating a general support group
that welcomed all families with children with all types of disabilities. A group that would have a general outline so anyone, anywhere in the world could take the framework and start a group. It always worried me that families with children with rare disorders, mental illness, or many other disorders did not have a support group. I pitched the idea to Mark to see what he thought and he loved it. With Jake's inspiration, Mark's guidance, and the support and encouragement of my husband the group Caregivers Ladder was created. It is called Caregivers Ladder because Jacob's Ladder was used by many other non profits. I also like the idea of Caregivers Ladder, because in some cases it is not a parent raising the child. Caregivers applies to a large population and will not exclude anyone. The Ladder part of our group name is because some days we are going upward, and other days we have to take a few steps backward.

You can sit down and read all the information about the group, but the bottom line of the group is to help caregivers to deal with the emotions of disability. We all have one commonality and that is loving and caring for a child with a disability. As parents we want to provide the best care possible for our children, and
hopefully change the world's view of individuals with disabilities along the way.

Thank you,
Michelle, John, and Jacob

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