Special Tomato, offering special needs products taking the "Dis" from "Disability". Read below to find out how the company got its start, and its unique name.
Carrie Bergeron was born in 1976 to Tim and Peggy Berrgeron. Carrie was their youngest of four children and was born with Down syndrome, a disorder which is typically associated with physical growth delays and mild to moderate intellectual disability, along with characteristic facial features.
In 1976, the information available to parents about Down syndrome was limited. There was less support from the medical community, and social support through understanding and advocacy groups was only just beginning.
Tim and Peggy quickly began to see that many of the things that could help Carrie learn and grow simply did not exist. The lack of available special needs products pushed Tim, an industrial designer, to begin a company that designed products to meet these needs.
Tim began to focus on developing seats that used softer material than had been traditionally available, and that were more durable and aesthetically pleasing. These seats were critical because they offered a way to position a special needs child in ways that facilitated day to day life – making everyday life easier for parents and care givers and more comfortable for the kids in the seats.
But over time, Tim noticed that the traditional materials used in even his seats weren’t as comfortable as they might be. Because special needs children can be seated for sometimes several hours at a time, Tim realized that they should be using a soft material that would breathe, be cleanable, and durable. Through recognition of this need (and through trial and error) the new Soft-Touch material used on today’s Special Tomato chairs was born.
But why the Special Tomato name?
One summer evening found Tim in the garden, picking tomatoes in preparation for supper with the family. Carrie went outside to join her dad. She was frustrated and wondering why learning and schoolwork was more difficult for her. And, she wondered why the kids at school would tease her.
Tim recalled the year that Carrie was born, and a “special” tomato that had caught his attention at harvest time. The tomato had a large, smooth bright red side that was enlarged. The large bump on the side was so unique and looked so appetizing, and at supper, they found that tomato to be just as juicy as all the others.
Tim tells Carrie that she is his “special tomato.” Even though she has some differences, the strength of her character and outgoing personality make her just as special as each of her brothers and sisters.
Carrie is well known for her story and for using her gifts to help others as an advocate and a motivational speaker. Learn more by watching her story below:
Learn More about Special Tomato Products
Special Tomato features the Multi-Positioning Seat which offers a soft and lightweight seating solution that is both comfortable and durable.
Other popular seating solutions by Special Tomato include the Hi-Low Multi Position Seating (MPS) System which adds the conveniences of adjustable height and seat pitch.