February 3, 2002. The name Brady was officially chosen. The name came from the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” as one of mom’s favorite characters, but dad would only agree to it if the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl and the quarterback Tom Brady won MVP. He said this before the Patriots even made the playoffs. The Patriots won their first Super Bowl, Tom Brady did win MVP, and Brady Karl McCarthy secured his name months before he was born.
May 14, 2002. 11:08 a.m. Brady was BORN. 8 pounds. 20.5″ Diagnosis of Down Syndrome at birth.
2 months old. Brady nursed for a year, but his feedings needed to be supplemented by a bottle in order to help him gain weight. Because he had low muscle tone, Brady was fed with a special bottle to make it easier for him to suck the milk.
August 24, 2002. Baptism. St. Patrick’s Church in Bedford, NY.
3 Months Old. Born with low muscle tone, physical milestones took longer for Brady. He had Early Intervention therapies. At 3 months, he was able to lift his head when on his tummy.
At 4 months old, at his monthly check-up (while his pediatrician was discussing that he wasn’t able to roll over yet), he rolled over. Always up for a challenge. Brady was anemic, was put on iron supplements and started having trouble with constipation.
October 31, 2002. 5 months old. Brady had just started to eat baby food. He liked baby food peas, green beans and pears. He did not care for carrots. He was doing a lot of rolling over, a lot of babbling and loved to do raspberries. No words yet.
6 months old. Brady was just starting to be able to sit up on his own. He was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and was put on Synthroid. He started eating finger foods like Cheerios.
9 months old. Brady’s sitting very well and starting the basics of crawling. He loves to giggle and play pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and where’s mommy’s nose. He can now say “Da Da.” Brady got his first tooth.
11 months old. Brady loves watching Baby Einstein, The Wiggles and Disney Sing-Along Videos. He enjoys books about Clifford the Big Red Dog, Little Bear, and Spot. He doesn’t like to wear socks.
1 Year Old. Brady has started to crawl. He is now saying “DaDa, MaMa, BaBa, NaNa, and RaRa.” When he plays peek-a-boo with his mother, Brady holds her hands to her face and puts his face right behind her hands so that he is right there when his mom opens her hands to peek-a-boo. He thinks that is very funny. His constipation has gotten worse and he has failure-to-thrive, which means he is anorexic. Despite getting sick often, he is a very happy child.
13 months. Brady was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s Disease, where part of his colon did not have nerve cells. He had part of his sigmoid colon removed in a Swenson Pullthrough Surgery. Though he got healthier after his surgery, he had constipation issues for years afterwards, resulting in many Emergency Room visits, and can still have occasional issues today.
January 12, 2004. 20 months old. Brady’s sister, Alexandra, is born. Brady is so good with his sister. He brings her blanket to her and holds her hand in the car. Alexx thinks Brady is very funny. He makes funny faces so that she will laugh. Alexx stares at Brady all day long and giggles.
2 years old. Brady is able to stand up on his own. He can now say simple words like dog, duck, frog, cat, bird, tiger, turtle, music, yes, and again (for more). He loves to draw and play with blocks. Brady loves music. When he sits down to eat, he points to the radio and says “music.” He has already started dancing.
2 1/2 years old. Brady starts walking.
November 30, 2005. 3 1/2 years old. Brady’s brother, Bailey, is born. Brady is very excited to have a baby brother.
May 14, 2006. 4 years old. Brady’s first birthday party with friends from his pre-school self-contained class. It is a pirate theme, as Peter Pan is his favorite movie. Not to mention his other favorite pirate from The Wiggles, Captain Feathersword. As an integral part of his world, his speech therapist and her young son, are invited to his party.
5 years old. Kindergarten portrait. Brady was put into a self-contained class for kids with special needs with a push-in for some specials. For the next few years, his family fought to get him included in a mainstream classroom with his peers. One of his teachers asked the parents why they wanted him included so badly since he had no friends anyway. His mom would leave many of his early school CSE meetings in tears, but this never stopped them from pursuing an inclusive education for Brady.
6 years old. 1st Grade. Still trying to move Brady into an inclusive classroom, his mom took this video to show Brady’s abilities to prove to his school’s IEP committee that he was capable of being included with his peers in class. Their response was they would not accept the video as evidence of his abilities. As far as they were concerned, they believed he could not count, sort, nor follow simple directions and still belonged in a self-contained classroom.
March 2010. 2nd Grade. 7 years old. Brady was diagnosed with Verbal Apraxia, which is a difficulty to motor plan the movements needed for speech. Through intensive speech therapy, including PROMPT therapy, Brady starts to learn how to coordinate placement of his tongue, lips, jaw, and breath along with pacing, in order to be able to start to improve his articulation. It will be a long and continuing journey for Brady. In the meantime, his inner actor is born, as he learns how to act out what he is trying to express in order to be understood.
3rd Grade. 8 years old. Not wanting to settle for a self-contained class for Brady’s education, his family moved one town over for a more inclusive school experience, carrying two houses for a year until they could sell their old house, just to get him into a new school. To introduce Brady to his new class, his mom made a video for him to show in class, to make his peers feel more comfortable with him.
3rd Grade. What a difference an inclusive school makes. With the right supports, Brady is able to participate, just like his peers, in a class presentation. He loves his new school and all his new supportive classmates. Changing schools was the best decision for Brady.
May 14, 2011. Brady turns 9 years old. This is his first birthday party in his new inclusive school. This is why Brady’s family carried two houses for a year, to move twenty minutes away into a new school district. For Brady’s prior teachers who asked why Brady wanted to be included in a classroom with his peers when he had no friends – this is why. How can you make friends with peers unless you are included with your peers?
4th Grade. 9 years old. Brady presented a new video to his fourth-grade class.
May 2012. 10 years old. Graduated Westorchard Elementary School (through 4th grade). Pictured here with his principal, Mr. Skoog.
May 14, 2013. 5th Grade. 11 years old. What a difference an inclusive school district makes. His classmates surprise him by decorating his school locker for his birthday.
October 2014. 7th Grade. 12 years old. When Brady’s 7th Grade math teacher and special ed teacher decided not to even present Brady with the math lesson of “Constant of Proportionality” because they perceived it to be too difficult for him to learn, mom sent them a videotape of Brady learning the lesson. Mom found a simple 3-minute whiteboard video presentation of the concept on YouTube and watched it with Brady. She took a few minutes to explain what they saw by reviewing some examples. She then took the math homework posted by Brady’s math teacher, modified it to incorporate simpler numbers, and videotaped him doing the homework.
Mom shared this video with his math teacher in an effort to have his teachers not just assume he can’t do specific lessons and to request that they try to involve him more in the curriculum. After seeing the video, his math teacher then promised to “push” him harder. This is why it’s so important to Presume Competence in students with disabilities. If teachers just assume the students won’t be able to understand, the student isn’t even given a chance to show the teacher that they could be capable of learning the lesson and doing the work.
Oct 2014. 7th Grade. 12 years old. In a meeting requested by his parents, to take Brady off of Alternate Assessment and put him on a track to get a high school diploma, his teachers tried to block this appeal. These are some of the teachers involved in the story above about the math lesson where the teachers chose to not even give Brady a chance to learn concepts that they decided, on their own, were too hard for him.
Luckily, the District Special Ed administrator agreed with his parents that Brady deserved to be included in regular classes and have a chance at earning a high school diploma. (Spoiler Alert: Brady did end up receiving a Regents Diploma and graduating high school at 19. This wouldn’t have happened if his 7th-grade teachers had gotten their way and allowed the system to give up on him at 12 years old.)
8th grade. 14 years old. Brady’s graduation from Middle School. His mother was told by Brady’s middle school teacher that his upcoming high school teachers were not happy about hearing that Brady would be placed in general-ed Regents classes. They did not believe he would succeed – all before meeting him. But once again, Brady would prove them wrong.
November 2016. 14 years old. Brady’s first Photo Shoot for Hip-Kid a clothing store in town.
November 2018. Junior Year of High School. 16 years old. Brady is cast in his first big role, as Lieutenant Samuel, in his high school’s musical of Pirates of Penzance. His director, Jonathan Gellert, was the first director that looked at Brady as a serious and capable actor. Brady worked tirelessly to memorize his lines, blocking, and dance routines. This role is Brady’s proudest moment to date and shows what is possible when someone believes in you.
March 2019. Junior Year of High School. 16 years old. Brady speaks in front of his school district’s Board of Education. He shares his story of how this year has gone for him and thereby showing how important inclusion in schools is.
April 2019. Brady appears in a Music Video. Brady’s video submission is chosen to open Rob Thomas’ One Less Day – Official Lyric Video.
May 14, 2019. 17 years old. Brady is participating in his high school’s Unified Basketball Team. This team is made up of students with and without disabilities. They play other local high school’s that also have Unified Basketball. This team gives students like Brady, an opportunity to participate in real games and not just exhibitions. One of his games was on his 17th birthday. The opposing team’s school made it special for him.
June 2019. Junior Year. 17 years old. Brady’s friend invites him to her Senior Prom. He is lucky he had the opportunity to experience it since his Senior Prom the following year is canceled due to COVID.
June 2019. Junior Year. 17 years old. Brady passes his state Algebra Regents Exam with a 75%, though his prior high school math teacher for two years, who was also the chair of the high school Special Ed department, told his mother that, in her opinion, there was no possibility Brady would ever even be able to attain a low-pass score of 55%. Brady proved her wrong.
His high school’s math department chair, Mr. Benack, was so moved by this achievement, he wrote this email to his department.
“Everyone who has ever met Brady McCarthy realizes he is an exceptional young man with an engaging smile, cheerful demeanor and a positive world view that sees the best in everything and everyone. Although I never had Brady as my student, I would occasionally say hello to him in the hall, to which he responded in a full and hearty voice as he hurried excitedly to his next class.
When Brady first began attending Greeley, no one ever questioned his dedication, hard work and perseverance in pursuing his daily tasks…and always with a bright and eager attitude of “let me try”.
On Friday I was part of a team grading Brady’s Algebra Regents exam. His score of 75 is equal to or better than the score attained by several students who were in our standard or enriched algebra tracks.
To be honest, I thought about holding Brady up as an example to my own students who struggle in math due to their own poor work habits, as if to say “Look at the challenges with which Brady has to contend; What’s your excuse?”. This would be an unfair comparison because it would be unreasonable to expect anyone to have the level of motivation and joy of learning I’ve seen in Brady.
I am a better person for having known Brady, even if it was only peripherally in the hallways or watching him run up and down the basketball court or on stage in the production of “Our Town”, so happy to be part of a team with fellow students who welcomed and embraced him.”
Oct 2019. 17 years old. Brady is officially sworn in, by the New Castle town board as one of the original New Castle EPIC Ambassadors. The group’s mission is to promote inclusion within their community. This group was created for Brady by his mom to give him a platform to gain experience as an advocate and to raise his recognition in town.
October 2019. 17 years old. As an EPIC Ambassador, Brady is one of the Guest Storybook Readers at the Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival.
May 14, 2020. 18th Birthday. Brady’s high school friends wanted to celebrate his birthday with him despite the restrictions of COVID19, so they organized this surprise birthday car parade for him.
June 11, 2020. 18 years old. End of the year Wrestling Banquet. Brady is named as a Captain for Horace Greeley High School’s 2020/21 Varsity Wrestling Team.
June 20, 2020. 18 years old. Though he has 1.5 credits left to take before he gets his high school diploma, Brady attended his High School Graduation Ceremony with his Class of 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the school puts on a car parade and a Drive-In Graduation.
September 2020. 18 years old. First day of Remote Learning (due to the pandemic) of his Super Senior Year. Though Brady participated in graduation last year with his class, he has one more high school year to finish up one science credit, in order to receive his high school diploma. He is also taking Economics and a Film Production Class.
Oct 2, 2020. Brady participates in a “Get Out the Vote” video campaign by the Westchester Independent Living Center.
Nov 3, 2020. Brady voted for the first time and helped elect the next President of the United States.
June 18, 2021. At the age of 19, Brady graduates with a NY Regents Diploma. Brady is the first student with Down Syndrome in his high school to graduate with a Regents Diploma. For all those teachers and administrators who did not believe in him, may his achievement help them become enlightened. For all the teachers and aides who did believe in him and worked tirelessly to help him achieve this dream, your efforts will always be remembered and appreciated!
August/September 2021. Brady has his first job as a background film actor! He plays a background actor in both an HBO Series, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, and Hallmark Channel’s movie One December Night. Brady learned the patience it takes to be an actor by having to work 11-hour days and once until almost 2:00 a.m.
September 18, 2021. Brady continues his advocacy work by participating in Community Day. As an EPIC Ambassador, Brady helps educate his neighborhood community on how to be more inclusive of neighbors with disabilities.
February 2022. Brady becomes an author. Together with his younger sister, Alexx, they write a children’s book about Brady’s life growing up with Down Syndrome and the importance of inclusion. It is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0990784037
March 2022. SuperBrady and his sister, Alexx, do their first book signing at a local bookstore.
March 2022. Brady was paid to do a Professional Development program zoom for the teachers at The Children’s Center for Communication /Beverly School for the Deaf in Massachusetts.
May 2022. SuperBrady helps host EPIC’s Celebrate Inclusion! event in his community.
July 2022. Brady modeled for the NYC Subway Line apparel company showing off his book in front of the NYC Library.
August 2022. Brady and his brother Bailey create EPIC’s Summer Basketball Buddies as an inclusive community summer activity.
August 2022. 2022 Adams and Giannou Scholarship Winner – In recognition for enriching the lives of others in his community. Brady will be using the $1000 scholarship to print copies of my SuperBrady book to donate to all the public elementary school libraries in Northern Westchester County, NY as he continues his mission to spread the lesson of inclusion.
SEPTEMBER 2022. SuperBrady’s first magazine cover! The cover story highlighted all the great work Brady and his siblings have been doing to promote inclusion in their community.
September 2022. Brady’s picture was selected to appear in the NDSS Times Square Video to kick off their NYC BuddyWalk.
September 17, 2022. Nominated by his brother, at the NYC BuddyWalk, Brady is presented with the 2022 NDSS Dan Piper Award for bringing awareness to the Down syndrome community. https://youtu.be/wkjrPSHIkBU
September 30, 2022. A local news channel ran a story on Brady.
BRADY’S FUTURE. The sky’s the limit. He will continue to prove naysayers wrong. He hopes to be an actor. Have his own apartment. Have friends to go on vacation with. Get married. Spread joy. And continue to live his best life.