This Oklahoma DSP of the Year is the companion/foster parent for a 10-year-old boy with a multiple diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, moderate intellectual disabilities, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and Reactive Attachment Disorder. He has lived with Mattie and her family for the past three years and they view him as their son. He has struggled in school.
Today, things are much improved. Considering his challenges, it is amazing what he does today: vacuums their home; earns money cutting their grass and works for several friends caring for their yards; sings in his church youth choir; plays instruments during church services; and participates in and delivers meals for Meals on Wheels.
With Mattie’s guidance, these jobs and his talents have increased his self worth and self esteem.
Mattie, a DSP for seven years, was nominated by Dungarvin’s Heather Brown. Heather said that Mattie is strong in following the NADSP Tenet 9: Advocacy. “Over the past several years there were numerous meetings to discuss how we could support this young man in all settings. Even when it appeared that people didn’t understand or weren’t willing to assist, Mattie never quit and because of her efforts there have been improvements in his life,” Heather says. Because of her advocacy, he now has a volunteer advocate to assist him.
The Dungarvin team met with the school numerous times to discuss the process of getting the paraprofessional started. “Mattie has continued for the past three years to advocate for him," says Heather, "his team members have changed periodically but Mattie has consistently been there to support and advocate for his needs."