Sammy’s confidence

Sammy Heisler.

During the first several years of his life, Sammy Heisler lived in a long-term care facility, where most doctors did not expect him to survive his many medical conditions. “How shocked they would all be to see how he has flourished,” says his mother, Doris Burman, a resident of Westfield, NJ. On Tuesday, June 18, Sammy will graduate from The Matheny School.

When Sammy first arrived at Matheny in January 1998, he was completely tube-fed. Since then, according to his mother, “Sammy has learned how to eat, handle a wheelchair and respond to familiar faces. But, by far, the greatest benefit Sammy received from Matheny is his self-confidence. The Matheny staff members have always treated Sammy and all the students with dignity and respect, and I strongly believe these interactions have enabled him to express his personality and develop into the charming young man he is today.”

Sammy initially came to Matheny, Burman recalls, because “he began to physically improve and soon became inquisitive about his environment. The long-term care facility was not geared toward development, and the Westfield School District knew about Matheny and agreed that it was an appropriate school for him.” As Sammy makes the transition into Matheny’s Adult Services Program, Burman says she “will always be grateful to this organization of dedicated, talented people.”

Sammy Heisler in Matheny’s sensory room with physical therapist Glenn Stackhouse.