CPD Legacy Story: Jordan Snell

September 4, 2012 by cpehrson

This CPD Legacy Story was written by Jordan Snell.  Jordan attended the Up to 3 Early Intervention program as a young child, and shares how his life was changed through the people he met there.

I was born in May of 1993.  My birth was not your normal birth, as there were some complications. I was born as a blue baby. I was quickly revived, and although I recovered, it was not a perfect recovery.  Due to that incident, I will live the rest of my life with a disability called cerebral palsy.

Small boy in a child size jeep that is hand-powered

Jordon as a young boy in his first hand-powered jeep.

About two months after my birth, I was enrolled in the Up to 3 Early Intervention program at the CPD.  My (occupational) therapist was Amy Henningsen.  It is thanks to the Up to 3 program that I am able to do many of the things that I do today.  It would make life easier if  the story ended there, but it doesn’t.

You see, my experiences with the Up to 3 Program went long beyond the age of three.  In fact my experiences with the Up to 3 program still have not ended.

About two years after I started going to Up to 3, my family’s way of life was forever changed when my dad was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  Six months later, my mom had a brain cyst that to this day affects her short-term memory.  If you can imagine having  three children, plus a 2-year-old with special needs, a husband who was terminally ill, and not be able to remember what happened 15 minutes ago– this was the situation my mother found herself in.

When my dad called and told my aunt what had happened, she was there immediately.  My aunt is an amazing woman. Soon she was flying from Mesa, Arizona to Logan, Utah about weekly, splitting  her time between her family and mine  and making sure our needs were taken care of.  It quickly became evident that this was all too much to put on my mom’s plate at this time.  My aunt, seeking to help my family, decided to take me home to Mesa with her.  While this did take a load off my parents, it also eliminated my parent’s ability to watch me grow. After much thought and prayer, my family decided that I needed to be in Logan where I could see my parents regularly.  The first place I stayed, the family ended up moving to Texas.  After much more praying and thinking, my family asked Amy (my OT from Up to 3) if she and her husband would be so kind as to take me in and allow me to live with them.  After talking it over with her husband, Amy said yes. Over the next four or five years I spent the weeknights at Amy’s house and weekends at home with my family.  Amy and her husband took it upon themselves to love and care for me as if I was their own child.

Young man standing unsing an electric sander.

Jordan as a young adult using an electric sander.


Over the years, the therapy I received as an infant in the Up to 3 program never really ended. Instead, Amy helped me to adapt to my surroundings.  I assure you that, without the help of the Up to 3 program, I would not be a 19-year-old ham radio operator, private computer consultant, and a soon-to-be missionary, let alone drive a car and ride a bike.

The Up to 3 program truly changed my life. If there is any question in your mind about if you should enroll your child in this program, do it. I promise you won’t regret it.

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CPD Legacy Story: Eric Lewis

April 20, 2011 by cpehrson

This Legacy Story is written by the mother of two of our CPD staff members, Gina Cook, Research Associate and Evaluator, and Amy Wolters who works on the National Children’s Study.

Sandy Lewis shares with us the impact that the CPD programs (back then known as the Exceptional Child Center-ECC) had on her son, Eric.

Written by Sandy Lewis

Our son, Eric, was born Oct. 5, 1977; he had a brain hemorrhage when he was six hours old.  It left him with severe Cerebral Palsy.  As a new parent of a disabled child, where do you turn to find out the things that you need to do to help him achieve his best potential? I don’t remember exactly how old Eric was when we were first contacted by the Exceptional Child Center, but it was pretty early.

First of all,  people were sent to our home to give us their expertise, their ideas, and their suggestions to help him achieve whatever level was possible.  They had great ideas that really helped us and our family.

When he was a little older, he started attending the Exceptional Child Center preschool program. Connie Morgan was his teacher, she was amazing. She loved all the children in her classroom and we, as parents, appreciated so much the things that she did for our son. She not only cared about our son, she cared about our whole family.

One of my favorite things that happened while Eric was attending the Exceptional Child Center was the annual Christmas program. Eric was so excited to be a part of it. Every year that the program was held, it was the highlight of our Christmas season. I remember one year, Eric and Sydney D. were both reindeer.  They were so cute with their antlers and their wheelchairs decorated.  After the Christmas program, Sydney told us that when they were 8,  she and Eric where going to be married. Sydney has since passed away.

Eric made lots of great friends during his time at the ECC.

Oh, what special memories we have of the time our son, Eric, spent at the Exceptional Child Center. We are so grateful for all the help they gave us to help make his life better…and ours.  We will always have a fond place in our hearts for all those who worked so hard and loved Eric and made his life better.


Sandy and Ty Lewis


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