Heather Wilson reached out to Raising Special Kids for support as her son Aiden approached 18 years old. She needed guidance and help on the next steps and was apprehensive about his transition to adulthood. Aiden was diagnosed with autism at 5 years old and also had significant feeding issues, using a feeding tube until age 11. Over the years, Heather passionately advocated for Aiden in the school setting and for his disability services, and strived hard to make sure Aiden was supported and included in the community.
“I had made my way through the adolescent stage with Aiden, but adulthood terrified me,” Heather shared. “That is when the Division of Developmental Disabilities introduced me to RSK. I needed the support of a bigger community to get my son through this next milestone. Everyone at Raising Special Kids was so accommodating and knowledgeable and put my fears to rest.”
Because of the valuable support Heather received from the family support team, she decided to get involved and become a parent leader, hoping to provide help to newly diagnosed families. She also became a parent presenter at parent panels. “Participating in these programs allows me to not only guide others but also heals my own battle wounds and gives me strength,” Heather said. “Telling Aiden’s story allows me to really let people in the community know how hard it can be to raise a child with special needs and that you are not alone. I love letting mothers know that their little ones will accomplish milestones, and to celebrate all the wins!”
Today Aiden is a busy young adult who graduated from high school at age 17. He now attends college, has a job and is thriving. Heather is so grateful for the ongoing support she receives from Raising Special Kids and the opportunities as a parent leader to share her voice and support other parents walking similar paths.
“I believe as a community, we need to get out there and educate all,” Heather added. “The understanding of each individual’s daily life is so different but so relatable. We are here to cheer each family on through this journey we call life, and I am grateful we are not alone.”