Tall and lanky with dark blonde hair, Andrew looks a lot like your average twenty-something young man. His interests and home life are also very similar to others his age - he likes playing video games (Mortal Kombat is his favorite), enjoys listening to rap and classic rock music, and is motivated by money. He has two younger sisters, who he says he loves but “sometimes would like to trade”, and five step siblings. He says that his two pet Goldendoodles, Zeek and Tillie, behave well most of the time. However, after sitting and talking with Andrew for a few minutes, you will discover that he is anything but average.
When Andrew was five years old, he was diagnosed with epilepsy, but he hasn’t allowed that to slow him down. Andrew works at Rauch Industries three days a week, attends Rauch’s ACCESS program one day a week, and knows American Sign Language. Andrew says he has learned a lot working at Rauch Industries – not just job skills, but also that people with different or more significant disabilities are able to be successful in many jobs and earn a paycheck. In fact, being around other people with disabilities is what he likes most about working at Rauch Industries.
Andrew’s favorite activity when he is at ACCESS is going to the library, where he researches epilepsy, seizures, and treatments. He has had surgery twice for a Virtual Nerve Stimulator (VNS) to help reduce the severity and frequency of seizures, and he is considering a new seizure bracelet that monitors how often seizures occur.
In March 2015, Andrew had the opportunity to visit a 4th grade classroom and talk about Disability Awareness with the ACCESS program. He helped the students gain a better understanding of epilepsy and seizures, and also educated them on what to do if they think someone is having a seizure. Kids are, of course, naturally curious about new and different concepts and ideas, and Andrew did a great job fielding their questions, such as, “What does it feel like to have a seizure?” and “What triggers a seizure?” Even though he was nervous, he did an excellent job and is planning to participate in more local disability awareness activities.
Andrew has noble goals for the future: he wants to help other people with disabilities. He would like to volunteer or obtain a job working with children with disabilities. He also has an entrepreneurial spirit. If his seizures ever stop, he would like to create his own business to help people with all disabilities. Rauch is glad to be able to support Andrew’s goals and continued growth through our programming, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this bright and caring young man.