by Michelle and John Riggs, parents of Laura, the Mr. Ike Miracle Child
It takes a village to raise a child. Little did I know how true this proverb would be to our family. When Laura was little, we lived in Idaho. There wasn’t anything like a Children’s Village there. I was alone. Autism back then seemed like an unspeakable disorder, something to be whispered about behind closed doors. I started noticing signs of Autism in my daughter. When I brought up my concerns to Laura’s Pediatrician, he brushed them aside. She just has a speech delay, he told me, and signed us up with a speech therapist that came once a month, if that. That nagging feeling of something is not quite right persisted. When we moved to Yakima and Laura was in Kindergarten, her teacher pulled us aside and mentioned how Laura would probably benefit by having an evaluation done by Children’s Village. I had always kind of wondered about Laura having Autism, and yet it was kind of a blow to our family. We were suspicious of professionals due to being brushed off before. But this place was different. When the therapist talked to us, it was in words we understood. When we had questions, they walked us through everything. They made sure to know I wasn’t alone. They offered support for me, my husband, and our daughter Lily. All services Laura received was at the village. While she enjoyed Occupation therapy in the gym, my other two children got to play in the Child Care center, and I was able to talk to other moms that have been in my position, moms that have just started their journey, And moms that are on a different path than I. Together , with others at the Village, we have shared triumphs. And we have shed tears for the challenges we are faced with. But we will not have to face these challenges alone…. We have our Village.