Michael Rowe sustained a disability due to a motorcycle accident which occurred in Sept. of 1982, at the age of 16. He was hospitalized for several weeks then transferred to an intensive rehabilitation unit, where he learned to clothe and feed himself, use a wheelchair and do transfers. Gradually, he learned to walk with a walker. One side of his body is very limited. His speech is affected by the accident, but Michael learned to communicate quite effectively.
After 4 months of intensive rehabilitation, the doctors sent Mike home in the care of his mother and brother. He went to regular school. He was home for 2 years, then was transferred to a foster care boarding school, as it became more difficult for his family to care for him. His brother was the main care taker as his mother is developmentally disabled.
He lived at Shady Pines Foster Care, in Battle Creek, Michigan for the next 10 years. His court records indicate that Michael was sent home from rehab on NO medication and continued to progress for the next 12 years without medications.
Michael adapted to his disability. Family and friends described Mike as bright, happy, out-going and fun loving. Mike enjoyed school, and especially wood working class, competition wheel chair sports, bowling, swimming, and gardening. He won awards for the competitions. He liked girls and they liked him. He dated mostly non- handicapped girls. He liked going out with friends to fairs, dances and proms.
His school records are glowing with good reports, which documented Mike was groomed for independent living upon graduation and recommended for job training. It took Mike longer to get through school due to his disability, but he made it , and achieved a high school diploma! Mike was excited about getting into an apartment with some assistance with daily care. He was excited about being independent. As you know many American's with disabilities live independently successfully.
But then a horrible turn of events occurred which shattered Mike's hope of living the American dream.
In late 1995 ( nearly 14 years AFTER Mikes accident) he ended up in a rehab facility which claimed to specialize in treating persons with head injuries. Mike was lead to believe by a social worker that this move would train him for a job and independent living. But it was a trick.