Shaw Bates was in Special Education in California, in a class with students with more severe disabilities. He was also in Special Education in Hawaii where he was teased – called stupid, retarded, special, and contaminated. When Shaw was young, he could not talk. His parents took him to see doctors at Regional Center in San Diego. The doctor had him take various tests. They said they did not know what was wrong with him, and told him and his parents he could not learn and there was virtually, no hope for him. In addition, they said college would be impossible for him. Teachers told him that as well. In junior high in California, he had caring teachers who tested him. He was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed, which means he learned slowly. In high school his reading and writing started to improve, and he graduated. But, he thought he was not college material because of his learning disability.
Shaw Bates eventually graduated from Biola University with his B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Biblical Studies. After graduation God opened a door for an internship at Joni and Friends. Today Shaw works for Goodwill Industries of Hawaii, working alongside adults with developmental disabilities. One day he would like to help churches start disability ministries.
- Tell us about your early experiences growing up with a learning disability.
- What were some of your challenges in high school?
- How you figure out what you are good at?
- What aided you in seeking God’s plan for your life?
- How have you been able to deal with discouragement?
- Who encouraged you to go to college?
- Why do you feel you were successful in college?
- What are your hopes for the future?
Habakkuk 2:3 ” For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.”