My Special Needs Story

On Valentines Day of 2003, I kissed the love of my life good-bye not knowing what was in store for his safety and the future of our family. My husband Jeff was called up, along with his Reserve Unit, to serve over seas in the Iraq War. Both of our boys were only 5 years and 22 months old. For the next two years I assumed the role of a single parent and embarked on my journey into the world of special needs. It was during this time that both of my boys were diagnosed as significantly delayed. All of a sudden I had 9 different teachers and therapists to keep track of. (My joke now is that I should have rounded that number to 10 so I could have had one for myself - I really could have used a therapist back then just for me!) Since then Kenny (age 11) has been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome while Cody (age 8) has been diagnosed with Autism.
Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane. Autism is a disorder of neural development that is characterized by impaired social interaction and communication along with restricted and repetitive behavior. Both of these neurologicol disorders encase numerous other disorders and challenges as well such as Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, sensory integration, anxiety/panic attacks, depression etc. I would encourage you the reader to look up the links I have posted on this blog site to learn more about these disorders.
Even though the road is a long and difficult one for every member of my family, I am thankful for much. Being a mother to two special needs children, I know firsthand just how special these children truly are. My two beautiful boys are my precious gifts from heaven as they have taught me so much. It is because of their needs that I have learned humility, empathy, patience, and perseverance…and for that I am a better person. After years of research, sleepless nights, endless Doctor’s appointments, therapy sessions, IEP meetings, and waiting lists I have learned to become my children’s number one advocate…..and for that I am definitely a better parent! So as Mrs. Washington 2010, I hope to encourage other parents of special needs children to embrace what is “special” in their child, to never give up, and know that there is help and hope along the way!