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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Latest Posts

Are you listening?

Are you tuned into the people around you? Really? It seems that face-to-face communication can almost be eliminated today. With the use of email, Facebook, Twitter and texting, human interaction is becoming a lost art. There are just some things that are missed in communication when it is not done through the “human” interface. Emails, tweets, Facebook posts and texts cannot compare to the warmth of a smile, the ire of a frown or the “tone” of a voice. Facial expressions and body language sometimes can give more information than the words themselves. St. Francis of Assisi was quoted as saying “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.” As the saying goes; actions speak louder than words. A few years ago as my co-workers in ministry and I arrived at a host church to begin a day of planning and prayer. We were all geared to do the usual, predictable routine. Some opening remarks, some prayer and songs, then proceed with the agenda for the day. Things took a dramatic turn when it was announced that the day was going to be a silent day of reflection. Silent, meaning no words at all among 50 people, even during lunch. It was awkward to say the least. We were presented with no means of communication other than facial expressions, animated gestures and pointing. The great thing about the experience was that we all compensated by sharpening our other senses and we survived the day. Little did I know at the time that…
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Lick for input

We have had the pleasure of attending many different workshops, seminars and conferences over the years that have dealt with everything from legal, behavior, feeding, respite care, speech and a host of other issues that come with the territory of dealing with the special needs. One session at a conference that struck a nerve with me was one that had to do with sensory input and sensory needs. It opened up a whole new world to me about further understanding some of Matthew’s behaviors and how they may seem odd to other people. The speaker was David Brown who is a specialist who works with special needs children in California. He is a gentle person who has a unique gift of communicating and connecting with kids, especially those who have disabilities. His presentation was about listening to the “behaviors” that our kids exhibit, whether they have learning disabilities or not. He commented that while he was presenting, he noticed that most of the people in the room were showing signs of “self-stimulation” or self-stim. That made everyone squirm a little wondering what they may have done and caused some to look around to see who he may have been talking about. He went on to inform that one person, if not several were twirling their pen in their hand, others were tapping fingers on the tables, others were bouncing their knees up and down, some doodling, still others were yawning. His point was that our bodies have a constant need for stimulation, some are just…
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Teachable Moments

An evening a few years ago our family was winding down a long day of school, work and play. I was preparing and packing for being away for a few days on a Staff Retreat with the people who I have the honor of sharing in ministry with at the church that I am employed. I was looking forward to the opportunity to reflect, grow in relationships and listen to where God may be leading us for the next year. The pace of the evening changed dramatically when that familiar crackling sound of Velcro being separated was heard coming from Matt’s bedroom. Now, for most folks that is not a dreaded sound. In our household it holds a very distinct meaning, or action. The sound is of a releasing of diaper tags and a flung diaper. Until it is investigated we have no way of knowing if it is just a wet diaper or the dreaded “soiled” diaper. This one was a soiled one of epic proportion. We commonly refer to this incident as a Poo Sling. Not all poo slings are the same…some are compact and hard, some are really wet and pasty. This one was the latter and had no regard for the boundaries of the diaper. There is a protocol that is followed when this kind of event happens. In typical CSI fashion (Theresa’s favorite kind of television show, Crime Scene Investigators) an assessment of the scene is taken; ceiling (yes, I said ceiling), walls, flooring and then innocent victims such as books, toys, etc. Cleaning…
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“I don’t think I can do that”

Have you ever said to yourself “I don’t think I can do that?” or what about “that is just not my gift?” We have all set limitations and goals for ourselves over the years. Goals like losing weight, finding a more fulfilling career, getting in better shape, learning about a new hobby, etc. Just as damaging of not acheiving a set goal is putting limitations on what we can do. A great quote I read recently by the late Henry Ford is “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way, you are right.” It really comes down to what we believe we can do. It really is a matter of attitude when we are faced with situations in our lives. When talking about goals in our lives, the great artist Michelangelo who was most famous for his paintings and sculpture said this about setting goals: “The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it. But, that it is too low and we reach it.” What Matthew has and continues to teach all of us is that there seems to be no limit to what he will try to accomplish. If we relied entirely on what “the experts” had told us he would amount to, we would have reached those goals years ago and presumably be wandering around aimlessly at the present. Matthew is only as dissabled as we tell him he is. Likewise, we are only as limited as to…
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What a difference a day makes

Have you ever had days like this? One of those days where is seems as if everyone wants a piece of you, your time, your abilities? Even though the procedure or tests have their benefits, it doesn’t make it any easier to endure them. In the face of trials and bad days it may seem that the day or the bad experience will never end. But, the sun sets and the sun rises the next day. Somehow, a little distance of time between the event, things look a little better. In reflecting this past week after experiencing Easter, the tale of these two pictures tell the Easter Journey well…What a difference a day Makes! I am sure, to the apostles and those who followed Jesus so closely, the day of and the day after Jesus was put to death were pretty bleak. But, on the third day he rose! There is new life and things do look better. Thankfully, in our case, things look great for eternity! The pictures of Matt in this post are from the day before Good Friday where he had another EKG and ECHO of his struggling heart. Matt has a leaking mitral valve. This is something that we have been watching since he was born. As time has gone on and he has grown, we have been given good news that the valve may be repairable instead of the conclusion early on that was that they were going to have to replace it with an artificial one. But,…
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An introduction to Matthew Troupe

This site is an attempt to encourage and inspire parents and those who work with the Special Needs community. We are a family of six who have been blessed with a child with special needs. The syndromes and labels do not matter as much as what we all share in common, that is, what unique challenges that we share. Hopefully this blog and the snapshots that you recieve from our experiences will make you laugh, make you cry and also challenge you to see everything that we are presented with in life as a chance to grow and mature.