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Jacob's Story, shared by his mother, Stephanie

Updated: Apr 16, 2021

"Our son Jacob was born with Down Syndrome. He had 2 strokes when he was 6 due to Moyamoya disease causing him to have right-sided paralysis. He had 2 brain surgeries at age 6 due to the strokes. He struggles with speech, communication and fine motor skills. Before his strokes he was progressing well for a child with down syndrome, but still had delays. After his strokes he had to be potty trained again. He had to learn to use his right hand again and he had to regain his balance so he could walk for long distances. Additionally, Jacob has profound hearing loss unrelated to his strokes. Even with his hearing aids he has trouble distinguishing sounds and misunderstands things simply because he can't differentiate different words."

“We've always treated Jacob just as Jacob. We've tried to not let him be defined by his disability. Our lives may move at a slower pace but we try to do things like any other family. We sometimes forget that our normal isn't as normal as other families.”

“Jacob loves Empower Me, being with his friends and making new friends. He always tells us about the firetruck that comes and sprays them with water. Because of Empower Me, Jacob has become much more extroverted. He has made lifelong friends. It has enabled Jacob to have a buddy group just like any other kid. We don't have a support system outside of our immediate family. Empower me has given us time on Fridays and during Summer Camp to have some freedom while knowing Jacob is having fun and being cared for by people that understand him. Empower Me has given Jacob a place to belong. We are forever grateful.”

- Jacob’s Mom, Stephanie

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