Helping you live the joys and trials of raising a child with special needs
I’m Dr. Krysti DeZonia, Ed.D., BCBA-D, TERI’s Director of Education & Clinical Services. My son Jarred was born with multiple disabilities, so I know the challenges parents face (and the rewards they receive) when raising a child with special needs.
I have 45 years of experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families. I also have a Master’s degree in Special Education with an Autism focus and a Doctoral degree in education. Helping people with special needs is my life work.
I’d like to share the things I’ve learned and implemented here at TERI and provide ideas that might be of help to you along the way.
Watch for my blogs here on the TERI website and on social media. Remember you’re not alone!
Now for my fourth tip!
Purposeful Work: Becoming a valued and contributing citizen to society
Help your child or adult do things that society values: Unfortunately, despite the fact that we have made some progress, people with significant special needs are still viewed by much of society as folks who aren’t able to make much of a contribution. Prove them wrong!
Think beyond recycling and cleaning tables when you are helping your child get ready for adult life. Instead, think, “What does society value?” We value friends (can your child become a “friend” to someone in a nursing home?); community volunteers (can your child be part of the group that volunteers once a month to paint houses for families in need?); members (of a church, synagogue, club, team, or class); home and business owners (Click here to learn more about the man behind “Poppin Joe’s Kettle Corn" for an inspirational story). Start now and keep expanding. Even people with very severe autism or developmental disabilities can contribute, you just need to get them connected.