Photograph of Cooper smiling next to a buffet of food

Cooper was 15 years old when his parents first asked Disability Rights NC to help secure the services he needed. Cooper has a diagnosis of autism spectrum and ADHD. His difficulty in managing the stressors of school put him at risk of institutionalization.

Disability Rights NC helped Cooper get basic support services in place. Our attorneys also helped to address bullying in school and to develop and implement an effective Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Within an improved environment, Cooper excelled in his class work, earning high grades and taking early college courses.

However, after high school graduation, numerous holes in the service system sent Cooper into a downward spiral that led to homelessness and joblessness. Through diligent advocacy and coordination with his case manager, Disability Rights NC helped Cooper enroll in the Eliada Students Training for Advancement program in Asheville ( The program provided Cooper with a safe and stable place to live, extensive life skills training, culinary training, and invaluable support of caring mentors. Cooper is now looking forward to a bright future in the culinary world.