Harley's Journey Exemplifies Our Impact
Easterseals UCP delivers 9 million hours of disability and mental health services each year. Our 2,300 team members serve 20,000 individuals and families 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year! Harley's Incredible Journey is another example of our impact!
Although one in 54 children are diagnosed with autism and only one in 323 babies are born with cerebral palsy, Harley DeBiasi was born with both. At an early age, Harley was profoundly delayed and didn’t walk until he was almost 5 years old. The overwhelming challenges he faced were new for his family and they didn’t know where to turn for help.
Harley’s mom, Elizabeth, tells her family’s incredible story below and in this powerful video.
"We connected with Easterseals UCP of NC and VA when Harley was just 2 years old. Within a few months of service, we noticed immediate progress. After a few years, he was ready for kindergarten and we assumed his services would end. However, the Easterseals UCP team continued supporting my son as he got older by helping him develop life skills, social skills and fun skills like being comfortable playing in the park and eating ice cream from a cone!
It is quite common for individuals living with autism to have severe behaviors that could include screaming, tantrums and head banging. When my son unexpectedly began screaming uncontrollably, it was very frightening and once again, my family was at a loss for what to do. Our Easterseals UCP team rallied their internal resources from both mental and behavioral health. Through a functional analysis, they identified why he screamed and with the use of technology, Harley learned to communicate and behave differently without screaming!
As Harley grew even older, it was tough realizing that it was time for him to move out of his parent’s home to become more independent. And yes, my friends at Easterseals UCP and their Transition to Independent Living team were right there to help us. They connected us with Gary, my son’s paid Alternative Family Living (AFL) provider and roommate who helps my son live independently!
Sharing my son’s story is very personal to me. However, I’m doing so because I know that there are so many other families with similar experiences who need support. I’m grateful that after 17 years of Easterseals UCP’s continuous support and services, my son is thriving. Today, I’m a proud board member and advocate, working hard to ensure that others can also receive the support they need.
I’m asking you to financially contribute to the incredible impact they provide to families like mine.
Whether great or small, families like mine are grateful for your generosity. The contributions we receive help pay physical therapists, like the ones who helped my son learn to walk at age 5, Board Certified Behavior Analysts like the ones who taught my son to use an iPad to communicate instead of screaming, life changing AFL providers and other technologies that are very meaningful to individuals living with disabilities.”Warm Regards,Elizabeth DeBiasiHarley's Mom