My name is Lisa. I have a daughter with special needs, Sara, who is 25. When Sara was four she caught a virus. This virus attacked her brain, gave her encephalitis, and the subsequent brain injury left her with a hard to control seizure disorder and global delays. Right now our family is exploring what it is like to have an adult with special needs in the Hudson Valley. Hope you can come along for the ride.

At this stage of our family life we are watching Sara as she is growing and learning more about who she is, what is going on in her life, and how she wants to fully participate in her community. As parents we have the responsibility of helping Sara manage her medical needs, social, housing, and financial needs. We have not dictated to her what she needs to do. We share out thoughts and discuss together what options are out there for Sara to pursue. When we get stuck on something Sara’s sister Melissa is able to review the issue, and Sara respects her opinion. I feel my role as Sara’s mother is to help create opportunities so Sara can explore her strengths and grow as a person. We are building a bridge to the adult community and don’t have any directions, and sometimes we not even sure what kind of bridge it is. So far though I think our bridge is amazing and I can’t wait to see what we build next.

Jumping out of high school into the post high school adult world was a big leap for our family. Sara left school at the age of twenty-one in 2009. It was a rough year to be looking for work but eventually she found amazing employers. Sara has been working for Santer Fitness in Washingtonville helping to keep the gym clean. At her job Sara continues to see old friends from school and our neighborhood. At the same time she has made new friends. It’s a great gym if you haven’t been there you should really check it out. Our next focus would be her social interests and medical. Social success is measured by Sara’s smile. When Beautiful People in Warwick, a recreation program, added a young adult athletic program Sara joined and her smile has never stopped. We love everything they do and are so grateful for the invitation to join. Sara participates in Beautiful People soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. What a great way to improve her medical condition by being happy and active. Sara loves going to soccer and every week she is meeting new people and making new friends. It doesn’t get better than that.

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