Allen was born with cerebral palsy. Throughout his young life, his parents struggled to find the right type of therapy to help with their son’s disability, but none of them seemed to be the right fit for Allen.
Because there are very few training programs for young adults with disabilities, Allen saw few opportunities to expand his world and participate in his community as he grew older. He felt he lacked strong mobility skills but desperately wanted to increase his independence. So when he heard about the LIFE Toronto (Learning Independence for Future Empowerment) program with March of Dimes Canada, he was thrilled!
The goal of the LIFE program is to bridge the gap between child and adult services. It serves young adults who need support to make this transition into adulthood. Participants have access to resources that can provide life skills training, transit training, social and recreational opportunities, money management, personal care, and mobility training through Conductive Education®.
When Allen came to the program, he worked with the LIFE Toronto team to set his own goals for what he wanted to achieve. He wanted to be more independent, which meant driving his own power chair. He wanted to be healthier overall and more independent with transfers.
With the help of the LIFE program staff and his own hard work and determination, Allen succeeded in learning to drive his own power chair. The Conductive Education component of the LIFE program has also helped Allen improve his ability to stand on his own. Now, he has confidence, a bright smile and is extremely proud of his progress to become more independent.
Before the LIFE program, Allen would only interact with people he knew. But today, he has grown into an outgoing young man who enjoys getting to know everyone he meets. This is not only a true testament to the effort put in by Allen and the March of Dimes Canada staff to integrate him into society, but it is also proof of just how vital this program is for people like Allen who strive to lead independent lives. We are extremely proud of Allen's achievements and celebrate his new found independence.