This is our journey & our normal. #specialneeds #AutismAwareness #MentalHealthAwareness #advocate #mother

If you don’t have time to read this entire post, then just keep scrolling.

If you don’t have a special needs child or a child with a mental health condition, then you have not a clue what it’s like in our world. So don’t speak on something you haven’t no experience with.  And don’t put us inside the general population of general parenting, yea there may be some commonalities but not all the way. We do what we gotta do to help ease our own daily challenges and frustrations and we don’t need you to advise us on what you think works. I don’t care even if you’ve accomplished a degree in child psychology because it still doesn’t and will not ever compare or measure up to the daily challenges that we live with, battle through, and sometimes pull our hair out about throughout the entire day and wake up to the next day and do it allover again.  It’s really NOT as simple or as easy as we make it look.  Behind closed doors alot of us parents, caregivers, have a lot to navigate through.  So after your few minutes of assessing a situation, and your input is to just spank him/her or some other punishment that you think works effectively, well it doesn’t. 

Some of us parents, have it harder than others, some of our children aren’t able to verbalize how their day was while in another person’s care, and they become just as frustrated about things as others would, only their unable to verbalize it to us, so we are left to figure it out based upon other behaviors.  Some of us have children who can verbalize their day, and yet they have behavioral issues that are sometimes unexplainable and outbursts that occur for no apparent reason.  Some of us have children that have destroyed our property because of their aggression and anger but we don’t talk about that.  Some of us have children who appear “normal” by physical appearance but their bullied because of how they sound when they speak.  Some of us have adult children who are still wearing diapers and aren’t toilet trained.  Some of us want to do things just like any other average family, but it’s not possible due to other factors. Some of us can’t work because of the needs of our children, the multiple hospitalizations, ongoing procedures, medication management, feeding therapies, etc. 

Some of us are at a point where we’re fed up with others saying insensitive statements.  Some of us have chosen to become advocates for others.  Some of us are tired of the jerks in this world, but who isn’t.  Some of us just want to be able to have a full nights sleep without our kid getting up at 3am and rewinding their Barney tape.  Some of us just want a day where we can breathe and have some quiet time.  Some of us just want to the freedom to relax and not have to always feel rushed because we feel tense because we know our child is getting ready to have a public meltdown. 

Most of us lack outside, trustworthy, adequate, appropriate supports.  And therefore we don’t want to just put our child into the hands of just any caregiver.  Some of us have to walk on eggshells.  Some of us have to avoid triggers that set our kids off.  Some of us are drained and worn down.  However, we get through it, and we learn as we go.  We make it look like it’s no big deal. 

Another fact, most others don’t know, is this, many of us special needs families don’t have very many close friends, many of us are left without that village to help us raise our children.  Few of us have extended family support and compassion.  Many of us don’t get included or invited to your typical gatherings, so we stick to our own familiarity of “special needs events” so we don’t have to worry about being a “bother” to others, so we don’t have to deal with the stares, or hearing whispers and laughter at us and about us, not with us or together.  Ask yourself this, how often do you see any special needs individual out in public on a day to day?  Like when your at the mall, in the grocery store, or dining out at a restaurant?  To be honest, unless our child is “higher functioning” than you don’t see any of us. 

There are so many different terms and labels and categories that in my own opinion and it’s become white noise to myself.  None bother me anymore.  I’ve heard: “handicap, disabled, delayed, special needs, downs, autistic, non verbal, high functioning, low functioning, and they fall under the spectrum” and that’s just a few.  In anycase, Our normal is “our normal”.  Understand this, years before we even probably had a thought of bringing forth children, we didn’t forsee our future like this.  I don’t think any parent has ever envisioned what it would be like to raise a family with a child that will require extensive round the clock supervision and care well beyond adolescence.  

If we’re all unique, all different, not one of us the same, than who are you to say, our children don’t fit in.

I think if I’m honest most of us special needs parents had visions of having a child who would be considered the “typical” child who is self sufficient on an independent capacity and can work a full time job, play regular sports, and possibly move out and get married one day.  Well the truth is, for some of us, our journey has taken us a different way, and that is no longer our vision.  Because it’s truthfully unrealistic.  All I’m trying to say here is this, don’t be so quick to put your mouth upon what “you’d do if that was your kid”.  And I do know this, I’d like to believe that all of us parents, absolutely wouldn’t change a thing about our child now that they’re here and even with all the challenges. 

We’re doing the very best we can to keep them educated, safe, loved, cared for, nurtured, disciplined, corrected, and encouraged, inspired and respected.  So please the next time you’re out and you see a situation where you might normally be so quick to throw in your 2 cents, instead remember reading this.  And if after all this, you have an attitude of “that’s their problem or I don’t care they still need to….” Or something to that affect, than your just a cold hearted individual who lacks compassion and most of all you lack trying to understand.  All you see is what’s occuring in the moment.

Thanks for those who will respect what I have to say.  And if your a negative Nancy, keep it to yourself and just know this, our truth is our truth, our journey is our journey, our normal is our normal, and our experience is what makes us experts in what we have lived to tell others who are just beginning their journey as a special needs parent and might be feeling confused and hopeless.  There is hope in Jesus and there is support and advocacy out there. 

I’m just one mom who speaks on behalf of some others.  I’m just brave enough to write and share what some still may not have the courage or feel the need to say.  I’m just a mom and this is just a small part of my journey with motherhood and parenting.  Be blessed! -Erika

1 year Anniversary of Not Forgotten Ministries. #SpecialNeeds #families #church

Today, marked the 1 year anniversary of the special needs church ministry that my husband began in May of 2018. I follow his lead as he is operating in his purpose. The name of the ministry is called Not Forgotten Ministries. Such a fitting name for the ministry, because we want other families who have special needs loved ones or individuals living with disabilities or other mental or physical healthcare challenges to know they are not forgotten by God.

Church Info

We had 3 new visitors along with their family or caregiver today. It truly did my heart some good today to see the people participate in prayer, scripture reading and singing along.

A mother sharing her story about her daughter’s health challenges & God’s goodness

Pics from Not Forgotten Ministries

Our service isn’t your typical church service either. It is geared specifically for special needs families. The entire family. Not to separate the individual with special needs from their family but rather include the whole family in one service. We always offer to involve everyone with prayer, scripture reading, and a brief time for sharing their story. Followed by the word of God, more prayer and benediction, but at times we go off script to accommodate the needs of God’s people.

The girls playing with balloons in the kitchen during refreshments

It’s always lovely to hear others share their stories about the journey with their special loved one and all they have overcome or are still handling today. Especially the other mom who shared today, about how happy she was at the service, mentioning that she had been to a different church that was supposed to be for special needs families, but they separated her from her daughter, while she was able to attend service with the congregation, they took her daughter into a private room with others to watch the service on a monitor and she said she didn’t like how that made her feel. So it was really nice to hear that she felt welcomed and comfortable.

As a mom, caregiver myself, I know first-hand the daily battles, struggles, victories, achievements and strength it takes to do it every single day. It’s not always peaches and cream and its not always smooth sailing, but I will admit, it is ALWAYS worth my time, my love, my support and my efforts to help my children and others within our community.

Me holding sis Shana’s newborn baby girl, Novalee. Such a precious baby. She was born premature, but God has blessed her with good health.

I am sharing these short video clips to show the glory of Gods special people. I was told by one caregiver that today was her very first time hearing her client pray and that it touched her heart. These families come from all kinds of different walks of life, Autism, ODDS, Epilepsy, Dementia, Developmental delays, mental health challenges but we all come together here in one place, unified as one body in Christ. We know our loved ones diagnosis but it’s like white noise to us. We only speak, write about, refer to it because it’s how others can identify with us at times.

I truly hope to possibly inspire others by sharing this. And maybe if you happen to be a minister or pastor of a church, you too will become inspired to begin a similar ministry in your town. There are many families just like mine, just like these, that would love an opportunity to come together at church and feel welcomed, accepted and understood. Again, this is not your typical quiet service. We cater to the needs of the people and their families as we realize the sensory issues and the other need to express themselves openly. We are all Gods people. We are all loved. We are all unique and wonderfully made. Created by God in his image and his likeness.

So to that other parent, caregiver or individual who’s reading this and living with health care challenges, don’t ever let someone shame you or make you feel less than worthy, just because your blessed to be who you are, or the person your caring for. Don’t allow others to stigmatize you. Hold your head high, walk in confidence and be proud of the life you have! Share your story to inspire others.  Tell your story to educate others.

I hope I was able to encourage someone this evening!

Thanks for being here again.

An amazing night for my son! #Hope #Inspired

Gotta love my son’s energy & enthusiasm. Be sure to click the links within the article and you’ll see the video clips.

This passed Wednesday I received a last minute phone call, unexpected while I was watching t.v. It was the coach from specialized recreation activities center and he asked, “Hey, what are you guys doing tomorrow night?” I hesitated and slowly said, “Umm, nothing really, why what’s up?” He said, “I have a really unique opportunity for Erik and you guys to go to a baseball game.”

Initially I thought the coach was going to say he needed my son to fill in as a team player for something. But then he mentioned baseball but had minimal information for me. He said another coworker of his would be contacting me with the details.

Long story short, the coworker called me and asked for my permission to give my number to someone else who would call me with even more details.

I have to admit we are not the “baseball” family but we have gone to a couple minor league games before. And I admit I grew up around baseball, softball my entire childhood because my dad and mom played, so I know the game well. Just not a fan of the sport, maybe because I was forced to go to every single game, tournament and travel for them too as a kid.

Anyways. So I got the call from the person in charge of this unique opportunity and he explained that he is with a non-profit organization called “Sons of baseball” and they host families with developmental disabilities or life-threatening illnesses. Their mission is to provide a unique opportunity to give a great experience, all expenses paid and to make it a special event for the child with the disability or life-threatening illness. And he said my family and my son, came highly recommended and selected by someone he reached out to.

My son arriving at the stadium. Shaking hands with their media guy.

Initially we were told by the coach, that it would probably be a meet up time around 530ish in the evening. So that would be doable. But it was actually 3pm. So what did this mean for us?

I would pick up my son from school early because he needed time to come home and complete his daily routine, eat his snack and do everything he normally does after school. I was hoping for the best possible outcome. But I’ll be honest, I was uncertain and I was prepared to leave before game time since the game wouldn’t start until 705pm.

I have to get straight to the good stuff. Not only did my son do SOOOOO good, he managed to make it from 3pm until 1030pm when the game ended, and he truly enjoyed himself thoroughly. He even surprised us by working through his sensory issues of the fireworks that were lit off with every home run. Of course, I went prepared, I brought his music ear buds and his noise reduction headphones to put over those. There was even an unexpected fire evacuation and he was a trooper, and didn’t freak out. It was Star Wars night so initially when the alarm sounded, we all thought it was a sound effect from Star Wars but it wasn’t. And we had just gotten food and sat down to eat when this occurred so there was many unexpected challenges through the evening and I have to say I was so proud of his growth and this evening proved to be another milestone for his development and maturity.

My son with his personalized jersey before entering the gate.

Had this been a few years back, we would not have lasted for more than an hour and either the fire alarm and especially the fireworks would have scared him to the point of having tunnel vision and demanding to leave, while screaming bloody murder, but he didn’t! Not to mention, my husband was expected to be able to ride with us to the event, but got off work later and met us there. So usually my son, would become impatient and demand to have us both present and have a tantrum, but he was so well behaved.

He received royal treatment. Tony Parks is the man who was the host and his sister. These two were amazing and genuinely passionate about their involvement. I could tell their heart was in it and not just going thru the motions.

They made sure we were comfortable at all times. Erik was given a baseball to have the players sign, unlimited concessions, got to go out on the field before the game, sit in the dugout, meet the players, and we were all given personalized jerseys sized to fit each of us. We were given the tour of the stadium and the media room. He was also honored on their streaming baseball channel. The most memorable moment of the evening, the announcer mentioned all our names and also thanked Erik for being there, and my son replied with a very loud, “YOUR WELCOME, YOUR WELCOME!” I gotta love this kid!

On the field while the players warmed up.

This was the most amazing eventful day. And it showed me that prayer does work, my long years of not giving up on his developmental issues has paid off and Erik proved me to remain hopeful for his growth and future development. This would not have happened had it not been for the Sons of baseball organization and Tony Parks, his sister Tiersa and the person who recommended our family. It felt good to be honored and to just have others doing something nice for my son.

Tony, Erik, Tiersa. After the game was done. Proud moment. We made it!

I shared all the details to hopefully spark some hope inside another mom who has been thru the daily struggles of raising a child with special healthcare or mental health challenges or both. Never give up hope! What doesn’t happen today, might happen tomorrow. Just because its not now, doesn’t mean it will never happen for your child. Celebrate the smallest achievements.

Blessings to you!

Living with purpose. #AbleNotTheLabel

See the able, NOT the label!

This is my son, His name is Erik. He was just a baby here, he is now nearly 17 and able!

My son far left, with his teammates.

Yes he has developmental delays but he is living his life just as anyone else would. Able and capable to try new things everyday. He has overcome many obstacles.

My son at his dance class

My son at cooking class, washing dishes.

My son working out with my husband, his dad.

For those other parents who might feel hopeless. Don’t give up on hope. It can get better with time, patience, prayer, hope, and support. And to think 17 years ago, he died twice, was on life support, suffered seizures, and doctors didnt give him much chance of survival! Well we proved them wrong! And he isn’t a vegetable either, like they said he would be. We were told he would probably never talk, walk, or be able to eat normally. To God be the glory!

Keep hope, stand on your faith, and stay encouraged, even when the clouds are dark and the news is bad. The outcome is better than where it all starts.

Live with purpose.

Thank you for being here.

Different walks of life but respect the journey. #Faith #God #SpecialNeeds #MentalHealth

People come from so many different walks of life. Every individual has their own story to share. Some of us have similar paths but very different views and outcomes. Each one being born into this world to live out a purpose that has been designed specifically for that person.

Me and my youngest son. 3/31/19

Others ask me, how do I manage to do it ALL with the various challenges my children face? How do I keep it together? How am I able to financially support a big family with one source of income? When do I have time for myself? When do I get rest?

My answers, all lead to my faith in God. My Jesus journey hasnt been a bed of roses, but I have learned to trust in him down through the years. I was once skeptical about 22 years ago when I first walked into the church doors. I wasn’t raised in church and in fact very opposite. Bibles, prayer and Sunday school was never a thing of my upbringing. I’ve been tested, tried, retested and retried but in the end God has shown himself faithful even in times when I wasn’t. 22 years ago is when I came to the Lord and I’ve remained with Him since.

I keep it together with prayer, meditation, as well as natural things such as exercise at times, counseling, keeping healthy relationships, and dismissing toxic ones.

All I can say is AMEN!

I have had to quit so many jobs that I truly enjoyed due to the health crisis of my children’s lives. Money cannot replace my children or the emotions that came along with each chapter of life that was impactful. God shall supply all my needs, is what His word says and HE has yet to fail me. My husband is the sole source of earned income, but the key is being responsible with what we have been blessed with, while walking by faith not by sight.

One of my own sayings

My free time consists of staying up late once everyone is off to bed and tucked in their beds. My time of enjoyment is when my children are all doing well and no one is in the hospital as a result of their diagnoses. When I can look around and see that they are happy and fulfilling their own dreams and goals. Not fussing about a dirty room anymore, because life has much bigger issues and things that I should draw my attention toward. I rest in the Lord, meaning I know even in the bad times He is going to handle it and I just have to endure the process. My family and I have been thrown into the fiery furnace so many times, yet God made us fireproof. While the fire was intended to burn us up, instead it burnt up everything toxic around us. The heat purified things that were once impure.

This statement holds true for myself

My husband is not God, nor is he a god. But he is my partner for life. He is my one and only best friend. I honor him as the man he has proved himself to be in my life and in his role, not only as a husband but a good father to our 4 children.

My husband, Carl & myself. (Seahawks shuttle)

Our relationship began in high school and we’ve grown together, facing much adversity from racial slurs, verbal attacks because were an interracial couple. But we stuck together and we are still together, stronger by our faith. If it had not been for the Lord, I truly do not think we would still be together today.

My oldest son sharing his journey as a young man and opening up about his diagnosis with bipolar disorder

Presently, today my family is somewhat broken but still good as stitch would say from that cartoon. My children are all growing into adults. We are all at different stages of our lives. I have accepted my role as a mom and advocate. I am used to being home now. My mindset is different than it used to be in the “corporate world”. I no longer belittle my role as a “stay home mom or housewife”. I am NO where near perfect, not at all, and I’m the first one to raise my hand and admit my every fault and sin, but I also know not to stay down for too long after being knocked over. I’m not afraid anymore. I know there are brighter and better days ahead. I know because I’ve been where others are now, and I’ve been there before but I have also been brought out to see the other side. I’ve suffered many things, but I am a survivor with a voice to speak not only for myself, my children but others who haven’t found their voice yet.

Selena, Carl III, Erik (present day)

I have the most valuable role and it’s what I am called to do. To be here for my children and husband without being exhausted from a 8 hour job that used to rob me of quality time with them.

My sole focus is to help my children become independent and develop life skills. Learning how to be a person of integrity, being kind to everyone. Supporting them in hardships and encouraging them to hold onto their faith in God for themselves. Not because of “religious tradition” but to develop and spend time in their own relationship with God. Because when life hits hard, and crisis disrupts your life, that college degree, part-time job, fancy car, new Jordan shoes, favorite song, these will no longer matter.

This was hung over my sons hospital bed

They have all been blessed enough at such young ages with various hardships and tribulations that they have already begun to learn that God is their only source for help in times of trouble. And in hindsight, I’m grateful even though those moments seemed dark and hopeless. Well you can’t find hope unless you’ve been hopeless right?

Another paper I typed, printed and taped to my sons hospital bed

I didnt write this article to preach, or to impress my beliefs upon you. I’m simply just answering the questions that others seem to ask me time and time again. This is what works for me and my family. We tried everything else, but God is and has been the only one and consistent support in life.

Thank you for listening and being here. Blessings to you.

Accepting the present. #MentalHealth #Grief #acceptance #love #change

In a discussion today, this thought came to me. When our loved ones life has been impacted and altered by mental illness, some of us tend to grieve the loss of the person we once knew them to be. The person before their life was impacted by this illness that came out of no where. This very illness that they have absolutely no control over or how it impacts the former abilities they used to exemplify without restraint or hesitation. I believe that’s where some of the frustration lies on caregivers. Because we have a sort of false sense of reality moving forward and keep expecting things to be the ways they used to be. Instead, we should realize life is now different.

Learning acceptance, and love for who they are now and not just who they used to be. Be accepting to the present way life is, instead of hoping for what it used to look like, this is the beginning of change. Understand that your loved one didn’t wake up “that day” deciding they wanted to have a mental illness that would disrupt their daily living. Oftentimes we try to “fix them” or “fix the situation” by unknowingly dismissing their candid feelings, which then leads to a huge misunderstanding or heated argument. I’m speaking from my own experience. That’s where the eggshell life comes into play.

Love them unconditionally and inspite of those moments when things spiral out of control or when their symptomatic and battling. Is it easy? Absolutely not. Not easy to watch our loved one suffer and battle a war that they didn’t enlist for to begin with. Love is and should be there without question. If it’s not, then I have no comment toward that, only my own views here. Everyone has a journey, every one wants to be loved and accepted. Some of us get sicker than others, and some of us have incurable diseases, minor ailments. Regardless this shouldn’t change the way love is given or love itself. Mental illness needs a cure and for the present time, in my home, the temporary cure, fix, is love and encouragement with forgiveness. Being able to forgive the words or behaviors that tend to flare up in those not so good moments. I will admit this way of life is not here by choice for either party and it requires tough skin, commitment and dedication. Make a commitment to be there for your loved one, they need your support so much more than what they express or don’t express. What looks like anger or a happy smile, could just be their “go to” mask.

Basically, I’m saying just because the outward appearance is in tact, and the disability is invisible doesn’t mean that the expectations should be pressing. Let me elaborate a little more so you can hopefully grasp what I’m explaining here. I have a son with developmental disabilities who was born on time and normal, but at the age of 2 months he suffered from cardiac arrest and seizures which impacted his growth and development. Since his age was so young when his life was impacted there was no other comparison of how he once was prior to him dying twice. His way of life is what we consider his “normal”. His development is only viewed as delayed by comparison of other children and statistics. Now had he been like the rest of my 3 children who had no known issues until way later in life then I would’ve had to accept and adjust to change from how he was to how he became. And with my youngest son, he has visible disablities so others can see he is challenged with things, such as his walk, his speech, his behaviors.

And with my oldest son, who was born normal, healthy and sailing through his growth and development. He reached early milestones of walking and talking when compared to that of others. Then many years later here came bipolar disorder! Which impacted his life, his views, his thoughts, his daily living. And it is not the same as before this illness decided to come in and hit him hard. But if you see him, he does not have obvious visible disabilities, and oftentimes the expectations presented to him are too much for him at certain times because of the symptoms that tend to flare up. Yet he tries very hard to work through, persevere, and prove himself capable. He isn’t the illness, but the illness is trying to hinder his development. He is intelligent. He is an athlete. He is hilariously funny at times. He loves music and was an honor grad. He is presently a college student. He is a believer of the gospel of Jesus and we are a Christian home. He battles everyday, as he explains to me. He dreams of becoming an Olympian thrower. And he has to work 100 times harder to achieve the same postive results as his peers, because of this illness. He is a normal young man, who is trying to beat bipolar disorder, just like someone who is battling chemo and trying to beat cancer. He is a developing adolescent, who is often misunderstood due to his inability to articulate his needs at times. He is still my baby boy, my son that I love dearly. He is changing just as we all have evolved and changed down through the years. His brain is what is sick with an illness that has no cure, YET. Plus let’s take into account he is finding ways to be independent and at the age where he’s still trying to figure out his purpose and future. So all I’m saying is regardless of the “disability, illness, disease, ailment, etc” being able to accept the present versus the past is what makes a difference. Well that’s helpful for me. Maybe not for everyone.

And to others who don’t get it, like some teachers, some first responders, even some medical professionals, there is NO ONE WAY across the board of teaching for ALL, there is NO ONE WAY of responding for ALL, NO ONE WAY of a single effective method. So just because “most” can learn, be rescued, or treated with ONE method, doesn’t mean that because you should dismiss that ONE who needs extra or different support. Sometimes you need to be that ONE to change how you teach that student, how you respond for help, how you treat that patient.

And to my fellow caregivers, parents, relatives of these loved ones, your either going to accept the process for what it really is or your going to live frustrated with always looking in your rearview.

Praying for change. Hoping for better days. Enjoying moments when life is good. Hugging often while I have opportunities. Laughing together. Creating new memories in the present. Loving each other.

Thanks again for listening, being here and following me. I hope to enlighten someone. Again, this is my journey, my views, my own opinions and what works for me and us. To each their own. Have a blessed day!

Another small piece of my world as Erik’s mom.

  1. FYI, just because an individual is NonVerbal. It does NOT mean they are deaf & you need to raise your voice, nor does it mean they are unable to comprehend given instructions.

There was once a time in my own son’s life that he did not speak. His development was at a different pace than that of his peers and other children his age. Heck, we didn’t even know if he would ever be able to walk or talk. But we had hope that God would answer our prayers.

This was him at his second Christmas, just learning to sit up. Boxing Producer, Don King, called us that morning to wish us a Merry Christmas, because he had learned about my son’s hairdo. That was a memorable moment in time.

It was around this time that his growth and development began to show delays in his physical capabilities along with his lack of speech. So instead we began to learn sign language by watching VHS tapes that was provided by his in-home occupational therapist.

I made sure I provided him with the best possible opportunities to gain strength through his upper extremities with hopes that he would one day walk.   I had him in therapy for speech, OT and PT.  He began school at the age of 3 in a wheelchair. That was a scary time for me. I cried that first day of sending him to school, following the bus all the way there.  He was unable to verbalize to me or others. Not able to advocate for his own needs and still in diapers.  Just some simple signs, like “more”, “eat”, “thank you”, and “done”. If he were to have a bad day, how would he be able to tell me? If someone were to mistreat him how would I find out?  All these terrifying thoughts ran through my head.  It took time for me to stop popping up at the classroom and calling nearly everyday.  He had a nurse ride the bus due to his medical history of heart arrhythmia. He also had an IEP for his special needs and accomodations for learning. He wore a helmet to protect his head because he had began having seizures, but they eventually subsided with lots of prayer.

Those were his younger days of elementary school. He got keep the same bus driver all the way through his junior year of high school. Amazingly, she became known to him like family.

I believe he was around the age of 5 when he finally began to walk independently but still with someone nearby. He transitioned from sign language and pointing, to expressing a few sounds, and with much therapy eventually he began verbalizing with words. His speech was not clear or concise at that time, but to us, we knew what he was saying (most of the time). He had come a mighty, mighty long way from where his life began and he would continue to reach milestones as time went on.

His name is Erik. And he’s my son whom I love dearly. He loves Jesus and he acknowledges that is his Savior, literally and spiritually.

My son is different just like anyone else. Unique in his own way, and enjoys his life to the fullest. He isn’t ashamed to be who he is. And he does NOT see himself the ways others do, as having “something wrong”.

He is 17 and he still enjoys watching PBS kids, Disney pixar films, and the wiggles, Barney and child rated shows. He is all about daily routines, and enjoys eating the same foods. He is a creature of repetitive habits and he loves socializing with others.

It’s highly likely he will still be watching Monsters Inc, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and other movies even into his adulthood. He likes to rock back and forth while sitting. And he absolutely loves to praise and worship the Lord.

 

He enjoys attending church and praying on the microphone. Erik is one-of-a-kind, hard-to-find, unique as a jewel.

He is in his senior year now, and was nominated as “Lord of the day” for his Homecoming Royalty. Although he is viewed and often labeled as having “special needs” he is very popular and well-known in our community. Let’s just say he is very confident and makes his presence known wherever we go.

We do our best to keep him active and he enjoys bowling, footgolf, dancing. He also participates in basketball and cooking classes. He has won bronze, gold medals for his regionals competition for Special Olympics in bowling and basketball.

Erik and Regan at Regionals.

Thank you for taking the ride along my parenting journey once again. And for allowing me to be his voice. My life wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t who he is today. And I could care less about the naysayers.

Because I can’t “change the people” around me so I just “change the people around me.” -Erika

 

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