Every Parent has aspirations of having perfect children. We dream of raising them to one day be a professional athlete, doctor, lawyer or even the next president of the United States! When my son Devin was born on February 5, 2001, we had those same aspirations. He was our first born and we were ready to raise our perfect child!
At six months, we noticed that Devin was not developing like others his age. My wife Lisa and I lived in a two family duplex at the time. The family above us had a baby girl born within a month of Devin. We often heard from other parents “Never compare your child with others”. How could you not? We were comparing Devin’s development with the girl upstairs and she was well beyond Devin’s capabilities. We began to compare him to his cousins, our friend’s kids, all born within weeks of Devin. The comparison was consistent, Devin was significantly behind in his developmental progress.
At nine months we took him to a neurologist and we scheduled a brain scan. After the doctor examined the X-Rays, he told us “Your son has a 50% chance of being normal “; with no explanation of what the other 50% result could be. Nobody in our circle was going through this. Lisa and I felt like we were on an Island and there was no one we could share this feeling of isolation with.
Fast forward twenty years, Devin has two younger siblings (Morgan and Riley), he attends LandMark College and has achieved National Honor Roll status! This is not because the “life coin” was flipped and landed on “normal”. Devin was neurologically diverse, he was learning disabled with a low IQ. His Gross and fine Motor Skills were poorly developed. He processed information slowly and lacked social skills most children his age had.
During the twenty years of raising him, Lisa and I lived a life of trials and tribulations. Reading books, implementing special diets, medication, taking advantage of state programs, visiting different doctors and educating him through both the private and public school system. We learned so much and we are still learning today. Devin walks a path that will always be uphill. He is doing great but has many challenges ahead as he is approaching independence.
The knowledge we acquired over the years was scattered but now consolidated in our love for Devin. This is why we developed Connecting Ground. We wanted to create a space where parents, caretakers and people with special needs could connect and not feel alone. We wanted to share a space where we could build communities, make connections, share ideas, introduce new products and more. We’re eager to share this platform with the special needs community and excited to see how this evolves.
Thank you for your support and know that you are not on an island. Like millions of others, we share the same ground!
Rich, Lisa & The Connecting Ground Team