The ACCESS garden in midtown Little Rock includes this climate-controlled greenhouse. This is part of the ACCESS Life program, which provides meaningful work for young adults with developmental delays and learning disabilities
Taylor Ford helps harvest lettuce that will go right to Little Rock restaurants like Taziki's. She said she loves it here! She works under the direction of Scott Simmons. “She's a great worker, very hard working, doesn’t ever give up,” said Simmons.
Taylor does take breaks and when she does, she reads. She has been reading her whole life.
Nicole and Taylor Ford
“Even though she may have had challenges at least she had a chance because she could at least read,” said Taylor’s mother, Nicole.
And read and read and read. Reading to beat the hand dealt her at birth.
“Taylor has what's called G Barre syndrome. It's a very rare disorder. It's a neurological disorder,” said Nicole.
From the day Taylor was born, Reginald and Nicole Ford knew their daughter would face major obstacles. Motor, balance and stability issues. There would be developmental delays. But they also saw something.
“We saw that she picked up on language immediately, she was picking up on words,” said Nicole. “Words are so important. Words matter,” said Reginald.
It got to the point, Taylor never left home without a book. She focused on and nurtured this strength. The Fords saw their child thrive at every level in school and students and teachers even noticed. The crowning glory for her hard work and determination came on a fall night in Jacksonville when she was named the 2014 North Pulaski homecoming queen. Yes, the Fords were proud, but Reginald worried his daughter had simply gotten a sympathy vote. But while standing on the field that night a teacher said something to him that he would never forget.
Taylor and Reginald Ford
“Don't question what has been done. These children love her and know that she has worked her butt off through all of those disabilities so after that I was fine,” said Reginald.
And we could close the book on Taylor Ford at this point and have a sweet story. But there is another chapter that's being written now. What happened next speaks volumes about the sustained power of reading.