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Ryan's Story

My name is Ryan Benson. I graduated from high school in June 2002, and I am currently in my sophomore year at the University of Washington in Seattle. I am planning to major in computer science with a focus on architecture and a minor in mathematics. After graduation I plan to work in the information technology field, such as positions at Microsoft. The disability that I have is cerebral palsy. I use an electric wheelchair for mobility. In college I use a laptop for all my work. Along with the word-prediction and the reading software that both help speed me up, I plug-in an external mouse that is like the control on my wheelchair.

I became a DO-IT Scholar in the summer of 2000 when I was in high school. Along with going through both phases of the Summer Study programs of DO-IT, I came back for the third year as a DO-IT intern for Summer Study. After my first Summer Study, I was asked by a DO-IT staff member to go to a local elementary school and talk to third graders about my disability. I also attended the U.W. Engineering Open House and other events, was given a chance to do a job shadow for a day at Microsoft, and through the DO-IT online e-mail mentoring received a lot of information about various topics such as finding a job, preparing for college life, and getting the accommodations that I needed when I entered college.

DO-IT has helped me connect with other programs that gave me opportunities such as internships, and possible future employers who are willing to hire me after I graduate with my degree. It helped empower me with a sense of independence and accomplishment! Now they call me a DO-IT Ambassador, and I share my knowledge/experiences with people who are where I was a few years ago.

Contributed by Ryan Benson, Seattle.


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Citation: Gaylord, V., Johnson, D.R., Lehr, C.A., Bremer, C.D. & Hasazi, S. (Eds.). (2004). Impact: Feature Issue on Achieving Secondary Education and Transition Results for Students with Disabilities, 16(3). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration. Available from


The print design version (PDF, 671 K, 36 pp.) of this issue of Impact is also available for free, complete with the color layout and photographs. This version looks the most like the newsletter as it was printed.

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