Michele and D.A.M.E.S.
The Differently Abled Mothers Empowerment Society was envisioned only after my whole world was turned upside down by these words, “Your son fits all criteria for children who have autism.”
Since the age of ten, I knew what I wanted to do with my life- to be a geneticist. I read about Gregor Mendel and how with the cunning use of peas he discovered the field of genetics, and I was hooked. I spent hours in my father’s garden trying to replicate his experiments and I dedicated myself to the study of science.
I graduated from ASU, earning a Bachelors degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology and a Masters of Science. I worked at The Translational Genomics Research Institute for 5 years, taught as an adjunct professor and was published in peer-reviewed journals. During this time I also played D1 soccer at Kent State University, and worked as a rowing coach teaching adults, college athletes and teens. I was active in my community, working two jobs, both of which were affecting and changing people’s lives.
In 2010 I married my best friend, and in 2012 our first child, Jackson, was born and my world was forever changed. Instead of the boundless energy that I always enjoyed, I struggled to stay awake, for Jacksons nights were filled with night terrors. Instead of teaching students about genetics, I struggled to teach my child to speak. Instead of teaching others how to connect and work as a team, I struggled to connect with my son. I stayed at home, silent in my grief, yearning for the life I use to have, yearning for a son that I could teach and connect with, and yearning to feel like myself again.
It took a long time to crawl out of the darkness, it happened slowly, and in stages. The diagnosis of autism helped. There is a plethora of information out there about autism, what therapies are the most effective, which diets are the best, and lots of articles and books written by experts in the field of autism and books written by people who have autism, By applying what I learned from my research to my sons daily life I saw him get better, but something within me was still broken. I still felt isolated, misunderstood and lost, because though there was plenty of information out there about how to help your child with autism, there wasn’t a lot of help out there for the mothers who care for differently abled children. A way for mothers to overcome the isolationism, methods to help reduce the stress of caring for a differently abled child, or someone to tell you that it’s okay to take time out for yourself, okay and necessary.
This is what D.A.M.E.S. is all about. It is an empowerment society built for women, by women of differently abled children. If you are a mother of a differently abled child this company will offer you access to weekly meditation, yoga and exercise classes that you can do at home on your own time, it will offer monthly webinars so that you can continue to education yourself by experts in the fields of education law, IEP procedure, DDD procedure, and financial wellness, but most importantly you will be able to connect to other mothers who are raising differently abled children.
This company will launch in January and till then I will be blogging in more detail about my children (Jackson and Maria), who have both been diagnosed with autism, and the experience of starting this company. I hope you will follow along, enjoy the blog, and join D.A.M.E.S..
Let’s build this community together.