New Editions Team Member Cherie Takemoto Awarded NARRTC Commendation Award
Falls Church, VA. March 14, 2017 – New Editions Consulting, Inc. is pleased to announce that one of our own, Dr. Cherie Takemoto, has been awarded the Commendation Award from the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (NARRTC). The mission of NARRTC is to promote the full inclusion of people with disabilities in American society through applied research and training.
NARRTC bestows its Commendation Award to individuals for their research, teaching, service, knowledge translation, or advocacy in the field of disability for specific, focused activities or achievements. Commendations recognize the important contributions that individuals, like Cherie, make that strategically or creatively advance the field of disability.
Cherie exemplifies the caliber of employees at New Editions. She constantly strives to assist her clients in evolving and improving their disability-related programs. Much of Cherie’s life and work has been focused on building partnerships to address the myriad problems that families of children with disabilities face – especially families without the knowledge or resources it often takes to build a successful life for children with significant disabilities.
At New Editions, Cherie is the Project Director of the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials. Her current or previous roles include, Project Director of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research, President of the Costello Syndrome Family Network, Executive Director of the Parent Training and Information Center, Adjunct Professor at the College of Education and Human Development, member of the President’s Commission on Excellence in Special Education for the last reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Chair of the Virginia Interagency Coordinating Council for early intervention for young children with disabilities, and Chair of the State Rehabilitation Council and, perhaps the most distinguished in her eyes, the mother of Pete, her son who has a rare disability (Costello syndrome, which is associated with ongoing global delays in development).
Cherie learned about advocacy early in Pete’s life, when she was suddenly faced with barriers she never knew existed. She knew nothing about her son’s undiagnosed genetic condition – and no one (doctors, friends, family) around her did either. She could not find services for or resources to help her son. She faced outright and subtle discrimination and apathy. But, she would not stop because she held fiercely to the dream of a positive future for Pete – one where he had the same opportunities as children without disabilities and could live an independent life.
She kept pushing. She kept looking for resources, asking questions, searching for others who shared the same hopes for their children with disabilities. She built a local community group of parents who had young children with disabilities and they organized to push for guaranteed access to early intervention services. They went to state and local meetings – asking questions and pushing for resources and supports to ensure that their children were not forgotten and that programs and services were created to allow their children equal opportunities.
She continues to ask questions, to push for equal access, to strengthen the voices of people with disabilities and encourage them to plan for a life that they want – and not one that others plan for them. Pete was eventually diagnosed, as an adult, with Costello syndrome and Cherie is currently the president of the Costello Syndrome Family Network. As President, she and others in the Network are working with researchers on a consensus document on development and treatment of the syndrome. In July 2017, they will host the 10th International Costello Syndrome Family Conference in Orlando and meet with researchers who have been following the syndrome for over 20 years. She also currently serves on Arlington’s (Virginia) Community Services Board and their developmental disabilities advisory committee, involved with priorities and services to populations with DD, mental illness, and substance use disorders.
Today, Pete is living the life she dreamed for him. He, who is determined like his mother, graduated from the George Mason University LIFE program for college students with developmental disabilities in 2015. He works, is an active citizen in the community, and recently moved to his own apartment.
Cherie’s New Editions colleagues are grateful to have her as a member of our team. She represents the extraordinary caliber of talent we have in our workforce. We are proud of Cherie and her accomplishments and in awe of the energy she devotes to disability causes. We congratulate Cherie on this well-deserved recognition.