A Mother’s Love

A mother’s love is difficult to define. It can be described as full of deep devotion and sacrifice.  For Carol, it is a place where all love begins and ends. Like most mothers, Carol thought deeply about the kind of future she and her husband Steve would provide for their children. As a baby, their son Shane checked all of the new parental boxes. Happy. Check. Healthy. Check. All 10 fingers and all 10 toes. Check.

What Carol and Steve had not planned on was Shane being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. And like any parents, their thoughts towards Shane’s future became more focused on the basics of just getting through what was to come next.

Asperger’s Syndrome falls under the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and is characterized by impaired social skills, repetitive behaviors and a narrow set of interests. It is considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. This was both a blessing and a curse for Carol, Steve, and Shane.

As he grew up, Shane exhibited many typical behaviors. He became interested in video games. He learned to ride and care for horses alongside Carol. Shane was a dedicated Boy Scout and became an Eagle Scout. And he successfully moved through the public school system, although challenging at times. While Shane’s ability to mirror societal norms in his appearance was often seen as a comfort, it also created hurdles for Carol.

In order to receive the proper care and accommodations that Shane truly needed, Carol had to fight. There were times where Carol was denied services she and Shane were entitled to because “he looked fine”.

Upon entering high school, Shane, just as every other child his age, hit puberty. He grew to be 6’2”, became a little more vocal and started sprouting a beard. Shane began to struggle in his interpersonal relationships with teachers and aides at school. He began to act out his frustrations and it quickly became apparent to Carol that she needed to step in and secure her son’s physical care and safety as well as his emotional well-being.

Carol fought to ensure Shane had access to quality education and milestones that most high school students take for granted. With the support and guidance of her family, Carol began to identify Shane’s needs and searched for the perfect program to accommodate his goals.

After graduating high school, Shane showed a renewed confidence and desire for more independence and Carol determined that Tailored Day Services (TDS) would best meet Shane’s needs. After interviewing a variety of service providers, she decided that Options For All was THE PLACE where Shane could grow.

Now 21 years old, Shane attends Miramar College and works at a local Ross department store. He has adopted his own dog, Anza whom he independently cares for. Shane has a savings account, pays his own cell phone bill and buys his own groceries.

Shane’s growing independence is greatly due to his Options For All Job Coach, Quyen. She has helped motivate and support Shane’s goals in exceptional ways. Shane and Quyen can relate on a peer-to-peer level, and Quyen continues to provide valuable insight and advice that enables Shane to grow more and more independent. Shane’s goals for his future include attending a four-year college and securing a job in a museum.

Without Options For All, Shane’s life may have gone down a different path. Once a struggling student, trying to manage the best he could with Asperger’s Syndrome, Shane is now a responsible adult contributing to the larger community. Shane has found his self-confidence and independence, and is looking forward to a world of opportunities.

Because of a mother’s love, Carol was able to find the perfect place in Options For All that Shane needed to grow.