Who the hell would admire me? I'm the one who broke down and went to the ER, remember? I'm still on the meds too. I obviously can not handle the hard stuff. Manuela is someone who moves the hard stuff out of her way so she can go where she needs to go.
She had her first child, Gabriel, before she could finish college and then later she found out he was diagnosed with PDD. With the right school and her help, he overcame that diagnosis. Gabriel also has a little sister, Hannah, who is diagnosed with autism. Manuela had to quit her job to make sure the kids got the care they needed and do they ever.
Manuela is the kind of mom who pays attention when her kids get therapy and works hard administering even more therapy to them after they've finished school. On top of her busy schedule, she is going back to school, to become, of all things, an ABA therapist. She's got such a natural gift for it that she has even been invited to apply for a job at the agency that handled her daughter's case. All this and she's only 26 years old. When I was 26, I was still living at home and worked very hard at finding out which were the best bars in the city.
I also think she's wonderful because sometimes I can be a real chicken at my CPSE and Early Intervention meetings - you know, the meetings where they tell you how many services your child will or won't get. Manuela and other friends at the clinic sat me down and coached me on how to ask for what I want. She even offered to come with me. I barely knew her name then and she actually offered to come and advocate for me. What a tremendous heart she has but I see that kind of generosity in a lot of parents with special needs children, don't you? She is one of the moms that really inspired me to start the Special Needs Parent of the Month Post.
(Pictured above: Manuela with her son Gabriel. Below: Manuela with her daughter Hannah)