Ability Advocates

My Journey

Do You Really Mean Me?

We were the proud parents of one 
extremely active baby girl, a child that was 
up and moving around in her crib at 
daybreak. She was so active, Joi made us 
get up when she was ready to start her day. 
Three years after Joi was born came 
Dorothy. I just knew she was going to be a 
boy as this was my last chance to have that 
son that every father wants. At least 
Dorothy favored me and had my laid back 
style. She however was nothing like Joi. She 
would lay in her crib for hours and seemed 
to be content with herself. My reaction was, 
"Yes there is a God!" But many months went 
by and Dorothy was not moving much. Joi 
continued to be sharp and quick. My wife 
began to think that something was wrong 
with Dorothy, and after much pain and 
knowing in our hearts that all was not quite 
right, We took Dorothy to  the Delaware 
Curative Workshop to be examined. One 
test after another we waited to hear the 
news. After many months, Dorothy was 
diagnosed as having a developmental 
delay.  What is a delay? Why did my child 
have be less than normal? What did all of 
this mean to Dorothy and our family? To 
these and many other questions we would 
seek answers. For two and one half years 
Dorothy saw innumerable therapists. In that 
time many things happened to me. I 
remember taking part in a parents support 
group at the workshop. It was there that I 
and other parents talked about the early 
pain of having a child that was different. 
One dad and five moms. Somehow it didn't 
seen odd being the only male in the group. 
Many times a mom would say, "my husband 
wouldn't do what you are doing; you are 
special." That made me stop and think just 
what I was doing. All I could see was what 
had to be done. Would not anyone do what 
they saw needed to be done for their own 
child and family? Because I carried Dorothy 
to most of her appointments, I met a lot of 
new and interesting people. Soon I was  
asked to sit on this committee and that 
board. Since then I was appointed by then 
Governor Mike Castle to the Interagency 
Coordinating Council for Infants and 
Toddlers, Birth to Three. Two years later I 
was elected vice-chairperson; then chair.

I have flown all over America advocating for 
children with disabilities and their families.

I have found my life's work. I have 
stopped asking why me. YES ME!

This journey has led to the development of   
ABILITY ADVOCATES. Our focus is on 
relationships. We arm families with hope 
and the knowledge to cultivate and grow  
meaningful relationships with their child's 
educators.

Public Hearing
Washington, DC
6/14/2007
IDEA

Four score and seven years 
ago our fore fathers brought 
forth on this continent a new 
nation, conceived in liberty 
and dedicated to the 
proposition that all men, 
women, and children are 
created equal.

The created equal part allows 
me a father of three girls to 
stand here and express the 
need to fully fund the 
reauthorization of IDEA.

In this great city a rite of spring 
is the blooming of the cherry 
blossoms.

The cherry trees are planted 
and tended to. And with great
expectations we wait for spring.

Not all of the plants come out 
of the ground just right. With 
some special care all of the 
cherry trees rise to take their 
place.

Research to practice has 
come a long way.

Many more children could and 
can benefit with full funding.

IDEA is large and complicated, 
but one thing is very clear to 
me, a fully funded IDEA will
help more children grow and 
be a part of this great country.

Advocacy Experience

1989 to 2002
Due Process Panelist
Delaware Part B

1989 to Present
Advocate
Interagency Coordinating 
Council for the State of 
Delaware  (Present Chair)

1993 to 2010
Family Voices

1994
Partners In Policymaking 
training

1996 to Present  
Impartial Hearing Officer
for Vocational Rehabilitation 
for the Division of Labor for
 
the State of Delaware

1999 to 2007  
Cub Scout Pack 47 of 
Bethel AME Church in 
Wilmington, DE
(Pack Committee 
Chairperson 2005 to 2007)

2001 to 2007  
Delaware Educational 
Surrogate Parent Program

2005 to Present
Advisory Council
New York-Mid Atlantic 
Consortium for Genetics 
and Newborn Screening 
Services


Bruce has sat on local,  
national councils, and 
boards. He has presented 
at numerous local, national, 
and international disability 
conferences.