by Michael John Carley
For Exceptional Parent Magazine’s annual education issue I shamelessly wrote about my new boss, NYU’s Lisa Coleman. I welcome any accusations of conflict, as she may be doing more for disabilities on college campuses than any university CDO on earth.
I came to Cardinal Cushing School through a family member that was a priest. At the age of 7 my father drove me up from New Jersey in his green and white 1957 Chevy.
I remember the green trees and the rainy day as we drove on to the school grounds. I came to the school because my parents were concerned about my learning disability, mental retardation, and behavior problems. The school was home for to me for 9 years since my family was spread out in different parts of the world.
Sr. Shawn and Cardinal Cushing made all of us feel special despite our limitations. I received structure and values from the school that I still operate with today. I was baptized and confirmed by Cardinal Cushing. I was an alter boy every day after being confirmed. I enjoyed singing in the choir and played a clarinet in the school band. When Cardinal Cushing came to visit the school we had a special high mass for him, which I loved. I worked around the school on the weekends. I enjoyed working with Sr. Magdalena in the kitchen. I loved to play baseball and YAZ was my baseball idol. Sr. Jovita was the number one Red Sox fan at the school. I took part in one of the first Special Olympic events held behind the baseball field. Sr. Rita organized a class trip to Washington, DC and the highlight was meeting Sen. Ted Kennedy and Congressman Tip O Neil.
When Cardinal Cushing died it was a sad day. The day of his burial at the Portiuncula chapel as we sang at the chapel doors you could see the large crowd in the parking lot.
When I came to Cardinal Cushing my goal was to graduate from high school. After graduating from St. Coletta I attended Gables Academy in Miami, Florida. After a year my father was transferred to Houston, Texas and I completed high school with a lot of help and determination. From there we moved to Connecticut. I attended Mitchell College in New London, Connecticut. After successful completion I was able to transfer to Texas Christian University and obtain a degree in Business Administration. Since college I have had to face many challenges in the employment world due to my background and limitations. This lack of knowledge has put me through more jobs than the average person. The safe start and the values system that St. Coletta provided me kept me from going down a lot of wrong paths.
This is an autism group in Texas that I belong to. They now have an app you can use to connect – Greg
Local Autism Community Engagement Network
L.A.C.E. Nexus is Now Live!
LACE Nexus is a private web platform, and is available on Apple iOS and Android mobile devices as well. L.A.C.E. is your Local Autism Community Engagement Network. We are working to globally connect autism spectrum adults and their parents with local social events, service providers, training and employment opportunities. If you have an interest in autism, this is the private network for YOU. go to website