Tesla & Caleb’s Story
“Words don’t touch the way my heart feels, but here’s a try…”
Sitting down to think about how ChildServe’s Behavioral Health program has shaped her family, Katie can’t help feeling like it is almost too big to describe.
“My children Tesla and Caleb both have Autism and ADHD, among several other diagnoses,” says Katie. “While they may share these diagnoses, they are very different from one another. This makes parenting challenging at times – what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other.”
Katie came to ChildServe for support three years ago as she worked to help her children live a great life. Tesla, who is Katie’s stepdaughter, has faced tremendous adversity from a young age due to traumatic events in her life, including the passing of her mother at just 7 years old.
“Tesla has faced major transitions in moving from another state to live with her father and ‘new’ family, having a father who is a disabled combat veteran, and gaining a stepmom. As a 13-year-old, she’s also learning what it means to have Autism, ADHD, adjustment disorder and lack of coordination.”
Meanwhile, 8-year-old Caleb is also learning what it means to have Autism and ADHD. Both children needed help developing tools to navigate their emotions and build communication skills.
With the help of a whole team of experts, Katie, Tesla and Caleb are creating a great life for their whole family.
“I am truly blessed by and grateful for the team of behavioral health professionals at ChildServe,” says Katie. “Rather than playing a guessing game and feeling lost, alone and defeated, I have received tremendous support and encouragement. I am constantly in awe of our therapists’ ability to be flexible based on the needs of my children. They work cooperatively with one another to support our family.”
Both Tesla and Caleb have made exciting progress toward their goals.
“Tesla has made tremendous gains in therapy due to the unwavering support and dedication she has received from her therapists,” says Katie. “While our work is far from done, Tesla has learned to trust the therapists working with her. She has learned she is special and unique in her own way and that big feelings are normal and ok. Tesla is learning to accept herself and learning to interact with the world around her.
“Meanwhile, Caleb has learned coping skills to better communicate his big feelings as well as cope with his negative self-reflection, self-talk and self-harming tendencies. He and I have learned to communicate together!”
While the last year brought uncertainty and challenges on a global scale, Katie has a special place in her heart saved for believing in the good things she knows are possible for her children.
“The best gifts that we have received from the ChildServe team are hope and acceptance,” says Katie. “We have been given hope that we can learn more and do more for them to adapt, and most importantly my children feel accepted for who they are and what they want to be. For all of their complexities and diagnoses, and despite my struggles or failures as their parent, we are accepted and given hope. I couldn’t ask for more.”
ChildServe improves the health and well-being of 5,200 children each year through specialized clinical, home, and community-based programs and services. We serve children with developmental delays, disabilities, injuries, and other special healthcare needs.