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A sampling of stories is below.  Our first international event was November 15, 2008. We will be adding more stories as we update our website.

My son Bill has had many medical conditions and surgeries in the past not allowing me to go out and have some time for myself, or even to share time with another adult. I think that set me up all these years to be somewhat isolated.  I don't think people with non disabled children, have a clue how hard it is for parents of special needs kids to get away.  Overnight outings have just not been an option for me. And if I do go I usually take my son, and that is certainly not for me, because I can't relax fully.  I do have family available when needed to help out with my son, but asking them also becomes stressful at times also.  So as you know, everyone has a story, so there is very short version of my story.  Thanks much, and have a blessed day.  Sally.

As new parents will tell you, there is a sincere joy when waiting the arrival of a new member of the family. The anticipation of a baby to nurture, teach and care for is exciting and wonderful. The promise of the future and what’s in store for your little one makes your heart beat stronger and pride swell as you dream of great things for your child. Will they become a sports star? Will they be an academic and go to college? Will they conquer the business world or help those less fortunate? Will they become an artist that makes people think in a new way? The possibilities of what is to come are endless. However, those dreams are often shattered when a child is diagnosed with a debilitating disorder.
Our son Adam is a wonderful, smart and funny young man. At the age of 8, he often makes people laugh with his funny sayings and exuberant energy. He has a smile that can light up a room and a way of seeing life in a refreshing way. Adam is very bright and loves to read. When playing sports, he loves to cheer on his teammates and plays to have fun. He is like other kids in many ways. However, he is very different in other ways, because Adam has autism.

We realized Adam was different than other kids and wasn’t meeting his developmental milestones by the time he was 18 months old. Seeking out pediatric specialists, we discovered his condition had a name when he was diagnosed at age three with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). Under the umbrella of autism, PDD is a behavioral disorder of speech, communication, social interaction, and repetitive type compulsive behavior. We wondered if this life sentence would mean he would never go to college, get married, have a career or have children of his own. Would he be like so many other special needs children that require constant care from their family that he would always live under our roof? It was a scary proposition.
With intense therapy and real determination from many specialists, Adam has overcome many of his developmental delays. His speech has improved and his motor skills are close to children his age. Adam is mainstreamed into an elementary school class with other kids and is excelling at his academics. His biggest obstacle is overcoming his behavioral issues that accompany this neurological disorder. Our hope is that with continued therapy, Adam will develop into a fine young man and have many of the same opportunities afforded his peers. With his will and determination, he can become anything his heart desires, even if today his only goal in life is to work at McDonald’s so he can eat chicken nuggets whenever he wants.
Taking care of a special needs child is a tough job for even the strongest parents. Emotional, psychological and physical needs of the child often come first before anyone in the family. And they come first every day, all the time. In addition, there aren’t many days off for caregivers because finding someone capable of handling the meltdowns, communication problems and other behavioral issues is a real challenge. We have had few days away from our two children in the past ten years and relish every stolen moment we have together as a couple, even if it’s watching television alone at night when the kids are in bed. That’s why being able to participate in the “Your Day Away” program is a real treat. We look forward to a romantic getaway to reenergize ourselves and put our relationship first for a change.

Tim & Mary

More stories soon... 
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