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Madeline Knauer-Graham

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Madeline Knauer-Graham

She is known as ‘Ms. Madi’ and is the agency’s most requested DSP and has the largest caseload in her program. Parents and the individuals she serves do not want to part with this 25-year veteran DSP. She becomes part of the family.

She helped one young man express his dreams by helping him write speeches, and practice delivering them through various warm-up techniques. Today this young man speaks across the country, teaching service providers, people with disabilities, and others about the power of personalized services. With her coaching, he has become a powerful self-advocate.

One young woman she supported used an augmented speaking device but refused to use the tool in public. So Madi created the “Out and About Group” 10 years ago to support this woman. She reached out to the woman’s speech pathologist to find another individual close in age that used the same device. They found someone, began chatting with one another, and a friendship blossomed. Soon they were out in the community, ordering meals at restaurants and asking for help when it was needed. The group remains active today.

Ms. Madi has also changed the life of one young man with Down Syndrome and his family. She first taught him in a special education class as a 4th grade student. The relationship grew and so did the bond between the families.

“Madi has been not only a strong foundation for our son and us; she has been the bridge that has connected us to so many worldly experiences,” says the young man’s mother. “She has been right there with him through school, college, advocating, and Boy Scouts, hiking up some treacherous trails. Madi touches everyone’s life she comes in contact with, leaving little pieces of herself behind.”