We started advocating for our son with Down syndrome minutes after his birth

by Sam Perkins – Pearlene Varjabedian was in her kitchen on an early August afternoon when her phone rang. On the other end was John Howard, the behavior management specialist for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Youth Public Safety Academy (YPSA), where Pearlene’s 10-year-old son Aram was a camper. “He said, ‘Pearlene,’ your son made everyone cry […]

Number of women getting ADHD diagnosis increases

by Shelley Roupas – The number of adult women taking ADHD medicines has spiked 85 percent in the last 5 years, more than in any other age group, according to a surprising study just out. Researchers with the pharmaceutical company, Express Scripts, analyzed its pharmacy claims from 2008-2012. Dr. Amy Stevenson is a doctor at […]

Personal dyslexia struggles drive tutoring center owner to help kids like her

The first book Laurel Sullivan ever read all on her own was the Green Mile by Stephen King. The second was Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio. It’s likely not surprising to those who know her, but key characters in both books were resilient and overcame challenges. Surprising to those that don’t know Sullivan is […]

Young man with Down syndrome enters signature jams in food competition

by Leah Binkovitz – Nolan Stilwell steps into his black chef’s jacket. He’s moving slowly, thoughtfully. His father, Randy Stilwell, helps with the sleeves and buttons. Normally Nolan would don a gauzy white cap to work in the kitchen, but today he has a show to put on. He goes instead with a snug black […]

Documentary by dyslexic filmmaker raises awareness on the disorder

by Ann Nyberg – Documentary film maker Harvey Hubbell is dyslexic. Educated in Newtown in the 1960s, life for him was difficult because educators didn’t know then what they know now. A lot of very successful people in the world are dyslexic. They can’t read or write but can be taught to do so if […]

Artist finds inspiration in son with Down syndrome

by Bobby Bozeman – Shoals artist Martha Beadle said she thinks of her abilities and style as a gift. Beadle’s son Sam has Down syndrome. And when he finished high school at the age of 21 there was nothing for him except the sheltered workshop. He had a complete shutdown, Beadle said. “He went through […]

Turning dyslexia from learning problem to advantage

Martial arts World Champion Scott Sonnon.

by Jeffrey Graham – Scott Sonnon couldn’t stop writing backward. At the age of 4, everything Sonnon would write came out looking as if viewed in a mirror. Once a physical representation of his dyslexia, Sonnon, 44, has used the mirror writing as a metaphor for inverting the negative experiences in his life to find […]

Football coach names friends with Down syndrome team captains

by Lauren Zakalik – Football season is back in Sanger, and the only thing more certain than getting sacked and sweaty in practice is seeing Blake Pyron and Austin Waters on the sidelines. “Especially when you’re tired and coming off the field, and you see them yelling with the crowd — [it] makes you feel […]

Awareness campaigns can show the brighter side of being dyslexic

by Preston Phro – Childhood can be difficult–dealing with homework, classmates, teachers, parents, and sweaty, screaming gym coaches is enough to frustrate anyone. But add a learning difficulty like dyslexia to that mix and “difficult” becomes a drastic understatement. For many, the frustration of being mislabeled as lazy or simply shunned for having difficulty in […]

Non-profit gives young adults with special needs a community

by Diane Murray – All most parents truly want is for their children to have a full life of their own. When you hear the news your child has a disability, your heart breaks a bit thinking that simple dream will not ever be possible. That’s how I felt when my son, Matt, was diagnosed […]