"Because of Arkansas Support Network, many people like myself get the chance to lead the lives they choose to live," he said. "In my opinion, that is an awesome thing."
For the people working at the network, independant living for all is a necessary thing. Many people with disabilities in Northwest Arkansas still live in institutions.
"That is just not right," said ARSN CEO Keith Vire. "We as a community - as a society - need to make sure everyone has access to the community.
The network offers with day classes, mentoring, supported employment, and 24-7 supported living - but one of the most important kinds of help the group gives is family support.
"It has also allowed my parents to connect with other parents who have children with disabilities, this is something that has been very important for both my parents and me," Ryan said.
"As you help the family and help create a solid foundation, then the family is involved, we're involved, then we have a group effort - anytime you have a group effort we tend to meet our goals," said Program Manager, James Wilkes.
While the network helps families overcome obstacles and people live independently -- it -- and groups like it also say they are doing it with less money than is spent to institutionalize people.
"Providing help to people living in the community costs about 1/3 what it costs for them to be in an institution," Vire said. "The calssic win-win - we provide a better life at a 1/3 of the cost."
A win-win because it's hard to figure out who is getting more out of the Arkansas Support Network - participants, its employees or the community.
"What we do is take one individual at a time, and we concentrate on that individual, and we try to make a difference in their lives, which will make a difference in the community," Wilkes said.
"I am very thankful for the impact ARSN has had on my life, and for the life I am able to lead because of this agency," Ryan said.
A life we all want to lead, a life of independence that the network helps 800 Northwest Arkansas - like Ryan - live every year.
For more information on the Arkansas Support Netwrok, go to: http://www.supports.org/