A tragic death gives disabled people an opportunity

BOULDER - After Aaron Tuneberg was beaten to death by two teens in 2014, Aaron's Fund was set up by his family to support projects in Tuneberg's community that would provide safety, independence and camaraderie for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Imagine! provides support services to people with developmental and cognitive disabilities including autism, cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Aaron's Fund was able to support Imagine!'s event on Wednesday, which celebrated the naming of one of its conference rooms to the Aaron Matthew Tuneberg Conference Room.

"Because of the developmental disability he was born with, his life was often difficult," according to Imagine!. "Aaron was a sweet young man who, in spite of his disabilities, was trying to live his life well and in peace. He was a beloved son, brother, uncle and proud citizen of Boulder."

Imagine! created a technology demonstration project that should improve the safety needs of adults with disabilities. The project will identify five to 10 people served by Imagine!, will assess their support needs, will identify the technology that will best help them, will purchase the items for them and will continue to support their needs.

"The concept may be simple, but it will help fill a huge gap that currently exists in services for adults with [intellectual and developmental disabilities] who are mostly independent but need a little assistance to remain self-reliant," Imagine! said. "Sadly, this is a population that is underserved and often ignored, as the tragic loss of Aaron showed. Available funding for their needs is miniscule, the workforce willing and able to meet those needs is shrinking, and yet the demand for these services continues to grow."

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(© 2015 KUSA)


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