The North Bend Eagle


Train watching
Brad Kavan takes in the view at the North Platte Union Pacific rail yard.

Education continues beyond school for Kavan

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 1/29/14

Brad Kavan finished school with his class in 2012, walking through the graduation ceremony and having a party. While classmates headed off to college, Brad headed off to fulfill his own need for further education.

Brad is a special needs student, having been tested and diagnosed as developmentally delayed as a infant. But that did not stop him from making friends, participating in sports, and having fun. His constant smile is an indicator of how much he enjoys life.

Brad the gradKavan graduated with his classmates in the Class of 2012.

Children in Nebraska have educational services made available to them from birth to age 21. Brad, the son of Greg and Kris Kavan, has been in the North Bend Central school system since he was three. He was in special education classes, mainstreaming when he could, for instance, in physical eduction.

Kris Kavan estimates that her son has developed to the level of a fourth grader. There are some things he can do well, like play sports, and there are some things he has no concept of, like money.

After finishing at NBC, his Individual Education Plan (IEP)team, made up of his parents and teacher Dan Nelson met. Nelson has been Kavan’s case manager at NBC since Kavan was in seventh grade. His parents were asked what their goal for Brad was, what they saw him doing in the future.

“We see him staying in a job like he has,” Kris said, “eventually living in a group home.”

Nelson gave them the option of programs in Fremont and Wahoo. The Kavans liked the one at Region 5 in Wahoo. It offered an in-house recycling job with supervision, interaction with other high functioning kids as well as transportation to and from the Wahoo site. There are other students from the NBC’s district that also go to Region 5.

Brad is in what is called a transition program financed by the school district. He will turn 21 on Oct. 7, and at the end of the 2014–2015 school year he will transfer over to the adult services provided by the state.

“The goal is to get him as close to independent living as possible,” Nelson said.
Brad goes to Region 5 year round while he continues to live with his parents in North Bend. He has a sister in eighth grade and follows her games and other sports at NBC.

Brad is involved in athletics himself, playing basketball, bowling, flag football and track with the Fremont Special Olympics program. He said his favorite memory of his years at NBC was playing basketball.

“Brad is a great kid,” Nelson said. “He gets along with everybody. He always has a smile and is very personable. Hated to see him go, but he needed to move on. It’s good to see him succeed.”

Brad’s parents speak highly of his time at NBC, saying his classmates treated him well and were very accepting of him.

“We are very happy with the education he received at NBC,” Kris said. “Brad got attention when he needed it. They pointed him in the direction he needed to go for lifelong living.”

At Region 5 Brad is in a routine that he knows and enjoys. He gets a paycheck that he uses to buy his own clothes, go to an occasional movie or visit the concession stand. Though his parents know Brad will never drive a car or be able to live on his own, they are content that he will have a job and eventually a home to live in, all with supervision so that he can reach his potential.

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