A brighter future for special need children
Article courtesy of Tri-City Voice, March 10, 2010
Text of Article, abridged
Ever since its establishment in 2006, the Special Need Children Center Foundation has been growing and is “about ready to come out of its shell,” according to CEO and founder Zia Oboodiyat. His mission: to assist special need children and youg adults with the resources, environment, and support needed to maximize their opportunity, and to transition to productive, self-sufficient and fulfilling lives.
Oboodiyat’s son, Nathan, has cerebral palsy, a disability that hinders him from completing tasks that you and I might take for granted — flipping on a light switch, getting out of bed in the morning, driving to the grocery store. These obstacles that Nathan, as well as approximately 1 out of every 12 special need persons in America, faces are what inspired Oboodiyat to create the SNCCF. …
He says, “having a disabled child has given me the opportunity to meet many more, and living with one has helped me to realize the way disabled people are looked at in our society.” …
However, although physically handicapped, Nathan is still a funny, intelligent 22-year-old. Like many other young adults, he enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, and aspires to be either a rapper or video game designer in the future. He is currently studying at Ohlone College and is working on receiving his AA in Sound Art.
Oboodiyat has used Nathan as inspiration for various projects, including the one he is currently working on with engineering students from San Jose State University — wheelchair sensors that can detect changes in floor or wall conditions and respond accordingly to them, helping the person in the chair avoid bumping into anything. Additional projects the SNCCF and its partner university students are working on include voice recognition interface for mobile chairs, control stick for mobile chairs and photosensitive lights for mobile chairs.
Nathan says, “I think my Dad is doing a really great thing, but he can’t do it all on his own; he’d heal the world if he could, but he needs help and support.”