A lot of teens turn to the internet in search of an outlet or understanding, using social media and blogs to share their experiences, challenges and feelings. In that respect, Brady is no different from his peers. His blog, however, and his life experience aren’t like many other teens’ at all. Brady was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and, by five, doctors confirmed that he had apraxia, a neurological disease that makes him unable to carry out everyday movements and gestures. In short, Brady’s prognosis was a big question mark with the only certainty being that verbal communication was unlikely.
After the diagnoses, Brady’s parents weren’t sure what the future would hold for their son — but Brady has flourished with the use of facilitated communication. He continues to impress and amaze his family with his empathy, intelligence and passion. Most impressively, he’s found his voice and has decided that he wants to use it to empower his community.
Enter Brady’s blog — Hostage to Silence. Now replete with its own online store, Brady’s blog has become a portal into the world of autism, with genuine stories of what his day-to-day life is like, helping to build a bridge for those who may not be able to speak for themselves. He’s working on releasing a book of poetry and has even worked with a New York Times best-selling author to help develop an autistic character who is non-verbal.
Clearly, Brady’s future is bright. But his unconventional brilliance doesn’t necessarily offer the same assurances that a conventional education and professional course would. When it comes to finances and the future, Brady’s parents want to make sure that he can dedicate his life to effecting the change for which he is so passionate, so they were thrilled when they discovered how an ABLE United savings account could help Brady be prepared.
The only savings vehicle designed specifically for persons with disabilities, ABLE United savings and investment accounts are uniquely constructed to maximize earning potential without impacting federal benefits, like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). For persons with qualifying disabilities, money in an ABLE account grows tax-free, and is easily accessible — allowing friends and family to contribute and requiring little maintenance.
The world is changing and people like Brady are exactly the kind of people who should be leading that change. Thanks to ongoing efforts and progress, like the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, federal legislation authorizing all states to create programs like ABLE United, a more diverse and inclusive population will not only find their own voices, but have the opportunity to be heard.