Friday, April 30, 2010

Sean's Story A Lesson In Life Update Part 2

As promised, here's the rest of the update on Sean. After graduation, Sean got a job as a greeter at Walmart where he worked for almost 2 years. He made many, many friends there and was able to greet many people from our local community that he knew. With the change in management and management styles, Sean's employment there ended. What a shame as Walmart lost a very dedicated conscientious employee.

Sean has since found a small part time job working at the Wild Bird Center, located at 12234 Tullamore Rd in Timonium MD. Sean's responsibilities there are to stock the bird seed when it is delivered early Wednesday morning. He has to off load it from the pallets, negotiate his way through the store and restock, and store the excess in the rear stockroom. Sean's boss John Sala has been a wonderful and supportive employer. Sean looks forward to going every Wednesday, getting up and being prepared well ahead of the time that morning. The Wild Bird Center sells not only bird seed but every kind of bird feeder that you can imagine. One of my favorites is the one that gives a squirrel a merry-go-round ride when it tries to steal some seed.

Sean has made a very special friend at The Wild Bird Center....Ms. Hattie....she, Sean and Ian are in the top picture. Sean adores Hattie and this is a big step for him as Sean dislikes most dogs due to a frightening experience he had when he was younger. Hattie is the most gentle of souls and loves to be rubbed and give kisses.

Sean works with a supportive employement agency to find a full time job and to give him support as needed. We were able to find a agency that shared our views of inclusiveness. In addition to looking for a job, Sean has been able to volunteer at various agencies to gain some valuable "work skills" as well as to give back to the community. At Thanksgiving time, Sean worked in a soup kitchen alongside his community employment advocate to serve the homeless a hot meal.

He also volunteered at the American Cancer Society local chapter helping with their envelope fund raising campaign. As for what the future holds for hope if that his future is limitless. I hope that society gives Sean and all people with disabilities a chance. I know that I will work til my last breath to make sure that happens.

Statistics suggest that every family will be touched by someone with some kind of disability or challenge. We as a society need to look at how we treat each other. We wouldn't want our loved ones treated unfairly, now would we? So the next time you see the little down syndrome child playing on the playground, encourage your child to befriend them. Hold the door open for that person in a wheelchair not out of just courtesy but out of respect for that person or better yet, why not engage in an exchange of "hello", betcha they will give back to you more than you will ever realize.


  1. Walmart needs to go back to their old style of store, and thank you for another part of your sons life.

  2. Awesome Dee!! I'm proud of him and I don't even know him!!


  3. Lovely story Dee...thanks for sharing it with us!

    Best wishes to anything he chooses to do...he's going to do just fine!!!

  4. Well you knew I would be back...:) I have just been so touched by your story and I pray that God richly blesses you both!

  5. Dee, this post is wonderful !! I now have another reason why I don't like Wal-Mart!! :)
    As for Hattie, Golden Retrievers are such docile dogs, perfect for Sean.
    Thank you for your concern about others with disabilities. I have a brother that is this way. He is a hard worker too. We do need to see that it could have been us.
    Anyway, thank you for this beautiful feature.

  6. Dee,
    Thank you for sharing these two stories with us. You have a wonderful son that has touched so many lives. He is as blessed to have you for a mom as you are to have him as a son. All your hard work and determination to make him the best he could be and to give him the opportunities that others have is truly wonderful!

    You have both been an inspiration to many I am sure!

  7. Rose,

    Yes, Walmart has gotten too "corporate" and they treat their employees poorly. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise as Sean needing a job has lead us to Hattie. She is such a wonderful dog and it amazes me that Sean had not one ounce of fear from the moment he saw her.

  8. B,

    Thanks! He is a great kid! And we are very proud of him. He always gives 110%.

  9. Doris,

    You are welcome. Sean is such an awesome kid...people just need to look past his disability and see him for who he really is. Once they do, they are usually hooked!

  10. Jody,

    God has truly blessed me and my family that day 24+ years ago when Sean came to us. I never once questioned why as I knew that someone else had "plans" for me. We did the what we thought was best for Sean. I was that simple.

  11. Susan,

    I have always had a special place in my heart for those that were disabled although I never put words to it til Sean was brought into my life. We need to realize that life is so precious and doesn't always go "as planned". There was a wonderful poem written about down syndrome, I believe by Emily Kinglsey, who was a writer on Sesame Street, when her son was born. It was about taking a journey to Holland when she thought she was going to Paris. The jist of it was even though the destination wasn't where she had dreamed she would end up, Holland was beautiful all the same.

  12. Kim,

    I appreciate all the kind words. We were blessed when Sean was born. He is a great kid. While he may have Downs I thank God every day for that. It made him who he is and helped shape me into who I have become. His brothers have also been taught to have that same fight and respect others regardless of their circumstance....Sean has taught them all that, just by being.

  13. Dee,
    You have raised an incredible kid...he is kind, polite, funny. But then all you boys are great kids. Glad he got the job at the Wild Bird. I didn't realize this is where he just called it the bird food place. I've been a customer there since it was in Satyre Hill Shopping Center. So glad Sean made friends with my crazy Lucy last time he was here.

  14. What a heartwarming post Dee. Bless you. Sean is an excellent young man. Your last paragraph says it all. Thank you for sharing with us. Hugs~CArol

  15. Pat,

    Yep, he is a great kid...and thanks for the sweet words about my other 2! LOL!

    I didn't give it a thought that you would be a customer of Wild Bird Center....small world.

    And we will have to get Miss Lucy, wild child that she is, to make better friends with Sean next time we visit.

  16. Carol,

    Thanks for the kind words. We just adore SEan, most days! LOL! He's just like any other kid in most respects....drives me crazy one minute and make me proud he's my son the next...ahhh...the joys of parenthood! LOL!

  17. I totally respect you Dee for being the Mom that Sean needed to help him meet his fullest potential! I know lots of Moms that have let the system beat them down at their children's expense. I admire you for not letting them do that to your son.
    My nephew worked with a down syndome child and the biggest disability they have is the ignorance of the public.
    I will pray that Sean finds the job that he needs. Shame on Walmart!!!
    God Bless You and Your Family, Valerie

  18. Valerie,

    Thanks...I try my best to do what is right for Sean. And you are so right, the biggest disbility Sean does have is the ignorance of the public...but we are here to teach them.

  19. I stumbled here trying to find out "What happened to Sean?" I am a Ph.D. student and instructor at USM (Southern Miss) and show Sean's Story to pre-service general educators so they can see that with perseverance and appropriate supports, inclusion will work. I also appreciate the candid depictions of those tense meetings between you and the teachers. These allow us to talk about collaboration and communication. All academics aside, I admire and respect you as a human being (and a tired mother!) You paved the way for folks like me and your courage changed THE world--not just Sean's. Thank You. (Melynda Ross)

  20. MeylydianJones,

    Thanks for your kind words. A mothers love knows no bounds...Sean and the person that he has become have been worth every fight, every tear, every moment and I'd do it all a heartbeat!

    Thanks for sharing Sean's story with the future educators of the world. If I can impact just one, then I've gotten a bonus out of life.

  21. How excited I was to find this blog! For years, I have been showing "Sean's Story" to my students in one of the education courses I teach at a community college. After viewing and discussing the video, they would always have the same question...."Whatever happened to Sean?" Each semester I would search the internet, but to no avail....until this morning. How happy and encouraged (and tearful) I was to read the rest of the story. Thanks so much for sharing the very brave and arduous journey your family has made in the name of inclusion. Sean will never know how many lives have been touched by his story.

  22. Tjswolf,

    Our family has been deeply blessed having Sean as a member. When we began this journey the day Sean was born we weren't sure of just where it would take us. I can say that it certainly has been the right path for our family. Sean has grown into a wonderful young man. I have to thank his peers, his teachers and his detractors for making him who he has become...yep, I'm thanking the nay-sayers...they spurred on the determination to make things work for Sean.

    He has since started a new job at a local grocery store and without appropriate role models, he wouldn't be the personable, friendly and outgoing person that he is today.

    Thank you for sharing and discussing Sean's journey with your students. I hoped by doing the documentary that it would open doors for other children to have the opportunity to learn side by side...disable and abled. To share compassion and learn empathy and acceptance, as the children truly are our future. I feel that if we have given one parent hope, one child the chance, one teacher a glimmer, then we have succeeded.


  23. I'm so glad you decided to post this blog about sean. We just watched his story in my exceptional learners class, and we were all touched by his story, but we didn't know how the story ended. With this blog I can go back to class and share in the wonderful accomplishments he has made. Thank you again -Heather.

  24. Heather,

    You are welcome...I don't know how Sean's story is going to end, as we keep writing new chapters. It's been an incredible journey for our family and Sean. Love finding out what life has in store for us, around the next bend in the road.


  25. Mrs. Begg,
    I am a college student in Tucson, AZ, and in my writing class we are writing a compare/contrast essay on inclusion, using your son's story as our example. I'm SO glad I found your blog, and I'm happy to hear that Sean is doing well these days. We watched the TV segment about your fight to include him and I was very moved by how many people believe in him. I believe in him as well, and as you say, think his future is limitless. Go Sean, go!

  26. Dear Mrs. Begg,
    As mentioned above, I too am a college student in Tucson, Arizona. We are writing a compare/contrast essay on inclusion. I'm very excited and intrigued on this topic. I would like to use your son's success story as a example in my essay.Could you tell me what Sean is doing currently?
    Thanks so much!