We have a new Featured Parent to introduce you to! Evelyn is a parent to kids with special needs and graciously answered a few questions.
Fun and Function: Who are you and your kids?
Evelyn Lopez-Delgado: Evelyn Lopez-Delgado. My children's names and ages are: Ryan, 14 years old; Eryn, 13 years old; and Rey, who is typical, 12 years old.
FF: What is the nature of their special needs?
EL: My son Ryan and daughter Eryn are both on the autism spectrum. Although most people tend to call them high functioning I don't like that term. Their deficits in all social aspects is so great that they are totally different from any typical child that falls within their age group. That makes it impossible for them to ever have "typical" friends. Their friends are other children that are like them. While typical children may be friendly and kind to them they are not really their friends in any way that a typical friendship is established and maintained.
FF: What would you say is your biggest challenge in raising a child with special needs?
EL: My biggest challenge in raising my children is not very different that other parents. I have the same fears and challenges that all other parents face. My biggest challenge is that it takes my children longer to learn what comes easily to other children. I have to work harder to get them to read, ride a bike, and have social skills.
FF: What would you say is your greatest joy in raising your kids?
EL: My greatest joy is really the same as other parents. Seeing them grow, seeing them learn, laugh and experience all that life throws our way. I just get to enjoy it a little longer than other parents. My 14 yr. old son will still kiss me and sit on my lap and tell me that's the best seat in the house.
FF: What would you say has been the biggest help to you in raising your kids?
EL: My biggest help has been the support and love of my family and friends. Holding my hands and hugging me when things go awry and cheerleading when a milestone is achieved.
FF: Give us one tool you would hate to live without.
EL: The one item that I could not live without is the Internet. It has been the best tool to connect with other families. I have learned so much that I just couldn't imagine going through this experience without it. It has provided me with opportunities, friendships, and the best education on autism right at fingertips at any time of day or night.
FF: If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who's child has just been diagnosed, what would it be?
EL: My one piece of advice to any parent that has just been diagnosed is get educated on your child's disability A.S.A.P. Make sure that you know your rights on Special Education. Get informed and speak to other parents, join a support group, go to meetings, and take a deep breath every now and then.
Evelyn, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and all the readers here at Fun and Function.
If you would like to be a featured parent or professional, just let us know!