At the REM Heartland program in Mankato, Minnesota, children on the Autism spectrum with significant behavioral and communication challenges are doing things for the first time—things like holding a bake sale, setting up a lemonade stand, bowling, swimming, horseback riding and family visits once thought impossible.
“I strongly believe that we have seen a decrease in interfering behaviors at this program because of the increased community involvement helping these kids live a more fulfilling, enjoyable life—and Brady has been a huge part of encouraging this at our program,” said Ashley Eisenmenger, program director at REM Heartland and Brady’s nominator.
Brady Carlberg, who started his career with REM at an intermediate care facility, came to the REM Heartland program in 2016. The program is one of only three of its kind in the state and can serve no more than three individuals at a time due to the children’s challenges.
“Brady does not let the fear of the next aggression stop him from encouraging the children to become more active in the community, try new things and live the most fulfilled life possible,” said Ashley.
Brady credits his success to his ability to connect with people at a different level and build a level of mutual respect. “I don’t believe in placing limits on them,” said Brady. “They are capable of so much more than we initially give them credit for.”
Brady plans to take his REM experience with him next year as a he pursues a career as a family physician, serving individuals of all abilities.