A Lift Makes Career Dreams Possible


Jake was born with a congenital condition which left him without legs and only about one-third of his arms. But don't tell Jake that he has a disability, because he either doesn't know it, or wouldn't believe you if you told him!

IVRS began working with Jake in 2010, when he was a junior in high school. At that time Jake was interested in exploring careers in areas such as accounting, sports news casting, and teaching something in the sciences.

When Jake graduated, he decided to attend the University of Dubuque to become a high school science teacher. His rehabilitation counselor connected him with the IVRS Assistive Technology Specialist, Warren Larson, and with ICATER, which is the Iowa Center for Assistive Technology Education and Research.

IVRS assisted Jake with an IPad and made recommendations for apps and technology such as Dragon Dictate, Notability, and a Smart Pen. Jake excelled in college, and by the end of his freshman year was expressing an interest in wanting to increase his independence by learning to drive.

Jake stated that he had been very anxious when he first got behind the wheel. At the end of the testing Jake was sure that he had failed the assessment, but the evaluator informed him that he was one of the best that the evaluator had seen for someone's first time behind the wheel.

Jake in his van demonstrating the lift
Jake in his van demonstrating his lift.

Jake explored options for a new vehicle and started a Go Fund Me page called Jake Needs A Lift, which brought in $58,415 to be used towards the purchase of his new conversion van.

Jake was driving independently in January of 2017, which was time perfectly for him to complete his student teaching during his final semester at the University of Dubuque.

Jake also utilizes an electric wheelchair for mobility which he controls with his right arm. He is a science teacher at Hempstead High School in Dubuque, head wrestling coach at Washington Middle School, and assistant football coach at Senior High School. These accommodations allow Jake to be fully independent and to achieve his employment goals.

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