“The hardest thing about taking this photo was having Chloe stand still because of her excitement over being back in school with her friends and teachers,” Kurt Kondrich said on the first day of second grade for his seven-year-old daughter.
Chloe, who was born with Down syndrome, received a strong foundation from outstanding professionals in early intervention and early childhood education. She is fully included in her school, and is reading at a second-grade level.
Kurt, a 1985 IUP Criminology graduate, was a police officer in Atlanta and a deputy sheriff in Fort Myers, Fla., and moved back to Pittsburgh in 1993. After Chloe’s birth, he began attending meetings of the Pittsburgh/Allegheny County Local Interagency Coordinating Council in order to learn about her preschool options. He soon found himself on the statewide ICC as a parent member, and shortly afterward he changed careers to become chair of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Early Intervention. In 2007, he earned his master’s degree in Early Intervention from the University of Pittsburgh. Kurt is now director of Community and Family Outreach at Early Intervention Specialists, a certified provider serving several Pennsylvania counties, and continues to educate the public about the importance of early childhood intervention.
Chloe was featured on the cover of the September issue of EP Magazine, the family and professional journal for the special needs community. Kurt shared a copy of the cover and accompanying article, which is available here as a PDF.
“The article shows what a priceless gift children with Down syndrome are to our world, and reinforces the truth that ‘the smallest voice can have the largest impact’,” Kurt said. “Chloe has planted more positive seeds in seven years than most people do in a lifetime, and she shows the true face of abilities for individuals with disabilities. I feel very blessed that God would entrust me with such a precious gift!”