Beverly DeLuca first heard about DORS around 1988, when her then teenage son, who has dyslexia, was referred to DORS for services. Later, she found out that DORS could help her too. "Because I couldn’t find work, so I contacted Unemployment and they put me in touch with DORS. I have dyslexia too."
DORS staff met with Beverly and helped her consider employment options, including training to learn a trade. "Someone suggested hair dressing, but I couldn't imagine that I could do that...Still, I ended up being trained to be a hairdresser and I liked it! I got a job as a hairdresser and enjoyed it a lot. I got hired at Hair Cuttery and worked there for nine years and then went to a private shop for about seven years."
Beverly says these experiences changed her life. "[DORS] did so much for me! I didn’t even want to come out of my house before…I had no self-confidence, I didn’t think I could be successful at anything. I hadn’t finished school…You feel like you’re the only one in the world [that has a disability] you don’t realize that there are other people struggling too. And, you don’t realize that there are people and organizations who want to help you. [At DORS] you make friends and you support and cheer each other on!"
Eventually, Beverly developed knee problems and had to retire from hairdressing, but she still wanted to work. So, she got back in touch with DORS in 2010 and learned about a program that would help her start her own business. "I wanted to do art photography and so I worked with the DORS and got a grant to get the photography and art equipment I needed to develop my art."
DORS' Rehabilitation Technology Services
program also helped Beverly by providing an assistive technology (AT) assessment. Rehabilitation Technologist, Linda Andrews, helped Beverly find AT that would help her in her business: "Her severe dyslexia makes it very difficult for her to read or write without assistive technology. DORS purchased a computer for her with Dragon Naturally Speaking and software that she could use to scan and read documents."
The years went by and Beverly started having grandchildren and they inspired her to create stories "that tickle the imagination." And though she never intended to become an author, her life took another turn: "My husband passed away and I wanted my grandson to remember him, so that started this story [in my book]. I always made up stories [because of my dyslexia], rather than reading books. However, writing the book gave the memories a more permanent home. "I was able put memories of my husband, Papa, in my book so that my grandson would always remember him."
In a bit of an homage to DORS, and to some other people in her life who have unique abilities, Beverly's book: Teddy Goes to School
, features many special characters "because I wanted to show all kind of children."
The book seller's About the Author section says of Beverly: "She’s an inspiration to others because her severe dyslexia never kept her from accomplishing whatever she set out to do." Beverly says DORS has a lot to do with her successes and encourages others to give DORS a try. "Just, if you can get in touch with DORS, it will open up a whole other world…it’s a slow process…but it be life changing!"