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Never Give Up
Posted Feb 9, 2016
Tona TreeTop described finding out her 5-month-old son Mateo had sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as “Life-altering. You don’t ever think something like that is going to happen. Then, it was like being in a tornado of all the legal and medical issues. It was overwhelming. I was trying to understand what the doctors were saying and I thought, ‘I don’t know enough!’ I didn’t have time to sit back and think; there was too much I had to do for my son.”
Tona’s research into Mateo’s injury indicated his outcome was probably going to be bleak. She recalls, “I did everything in my power to help Mateo regain as much as possible, but he is the one who never stops trying. Even when he was a baby getting OT, PT, and Speech, he would always persist.”
Five years after his initial diagnosis, Tona and Mateo moved from Idaho to Phoenix. Tona searched for local support for families of children with disabilities and connected with Raising Special Kids.
In the ensuing years she attended several workshops and when Mateo was in junior high, she worked
Mateo recently graduated from high school and participated in the Statewide Independent Living Council’s Arizona Youth Leadership Forum. He is currently enrolled at Scottsdale Community College (SCC) studying to be a Tribal Librarian. He works with the SCC’s Disability Resource Center to ensure he has testing accommodations and assistive technology in place.
Mateo never gives up.
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*Mateo, a member of the Lakota Tribe, documented the history of his TBI experience. See the description of his winter count at http://bit.ly/1KIS61G