We’re excited to be able to carry on what Amy has started and love the support and empathy that she has provided to this community. Like many of you, we have experienced the highs and lows that come with parenting a child with special needs.
I’m Sarah, and my husband Daniel and I will both be contributing to this website. We’ve been married 15 years and enjoy raising our four kids.
Daniel is one of 8 children. His older sisters are twins; the younger of the two has cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic. His childhood didn’t usually include going to movie theaters, amusement parks, or restaurants, but was comprised of many neighborhood walks pushing a wheelchair, Disney movies and musicals on repeat (all of which his sister loves), and frequent practice in feeding and lifting. After his parents realized their daughter was handicapped, they decided to face their overwhelming task one day at a time. 40 years later their approach hasn’t changed.
I grew up in the beautiful Northwest in a loving and supportive home. My brother courageously faced his challenges without the knowledge that he was living with high functioning Autism. With perfect pitch and a knack for composing, he is a natural musician. Hand him a map, and he can identify any location in world within a matter of seconds. He has also had more than his share of heartache and struggle. Growing up alongside him, I didn’t know how to help. When my third child John was diagnosed with Autism just before his 2nd birthday, it was a full circle moment. I ran full sprint onto the treadmill of services and early intervention. I armed myself with ABA knowledge and so much parent training that it made my head hurt. I’m taken back to my childhood frequently, though, because there are times that I still don’t know how to help.
John is a gift to our family. His sweet smile and contagious laugh brighten our lives every day. Because he is nonverbal, we rejoice with him when he’s able to communicate clearly and independently with his talker or with signs. Our three other children have been able to learn empathy and perspective first hand. I chose to pursue a career in behavioral therapy because of John, and I have loved working as a Registered Behavioral Technician. Still, we can’t deny how hard this diagnosis is. Aggression, self injury, tantrums, and potty accidents, are a few of the hurdles we are jumping.
Our goal is for this space to be a source of comfort, understanding, and joy for those who love someone with special needs. And while we will have a lot to say about autism, we are going to carry on Amy’s thoughts on special needs in general.
Thanks for being here, and please reach out to us.
Amy Mattson always wanted to be a mother, but when each of her children turned out to have special needs, she felt lost, not knowing where to turn for parenting advice or emotional support. In time, as she gained her footing, she was inspired to share her knowledge and experiences with other special needs parents to offer hope, encouragement, and a source of understanding. She began sharing her story through her blog, Raising the Extraordinary, to give voice to special needs parents and to bring awareness to the realities of special needs families. A serious battle of depression, anxiety, and her inner battles fighting through the emotions and the difficult aspects of being a special needs mom strengthened her resolve to minister to others who find themselves on the unexpected journey of special needs parenting.
Author | Raising The Extraordinary | Beyond the Diagnosis