Why This Site?

One Heart, One Mind

Certainly, there are plenty of websites out there that deal with special needs children. The purpose of this site is to have a place where Latter-day Saints can discuss — in unselfconsciously LDS terms — the blessings and the stressings of raising a child with special needs. Here we share more than our experience as parents. As brothers and sisters in the gospel, we begin our conversation speaking the same dialect, as it were. We start off already knowing some basic things about each others’ hearts. We share a world view … in fact, a beyond-this-world view.

I was overcome with this sense of relationship when we visited Wales in 2006, our oldest daughter having just married and taken up residence there. We attended Sacrament Meeting in the borrowed rooms of an old school. It was Primary Program day. As those shining little children said their practiced parts in their charming accents and sang of forever families, I felt an intense kinship to them and every one of the other 14 million people in the world who “love to see the temple.”

The Plan of Salvation offers perspective to all life’s challenges, including and perhaps especially, our shared one. Restored knowledge of the purpose of this life, and the role of individual choice both before and during this life, give context to that challenge. The example of our Savior Jesus Christ in choosing to accept and bearing without bitterness His earthly mission, inspires us. His infinite Atonement that extends mercy when we stumble under the weight of ours, comforts us.

And then we have each other — to mentor and to be mentored by, to lean on and to be the shoulder, to cry with and — this is important — to laugh with.

    Lisa Riska, Site Director

Family Pic 2015 LGLisa is the mother of Matt, 40 years old, intellectually challenged due to a seizure disorder (epilepsy). Originally from Virginia (where she joined the Church as a teenager) and after many years in the Salt Lake Valley, her family moved to Texas in 2003. She, her husband Steve, and Matt lived until November 2011 in a small town 90 miles northeast of Dallas. They relished the experience of church in a small branch, but missed proximity to their other 6 grown children, scattered across the country and overseas. Grandchildren beckoned and they returned to the Salt Lake Valley to be near some of them … allowing Matt to practice his skills as “an awesome uncle.” When asked about the name of the site, she says …

“In no other area of our life has the relationship between faith and direction been so crucial . . . and evident.”

9 Responses to “Why This Site?”

  1. Tobie

    I work with special needs adults. I find it rewarding and a calling within itself. I wish that people would see what a blessing they are from Heavenly Father. If we could see the world through their eyes, the world would be a loving and caring place. They are special souls. Every day is amazing and I am blessed to work with the loving souls that I work with each day. When the guys (I have 4 of them) do fun events, I often have people come up to me and ask “How do you do it?” to which I reply “Where else could you work and get a hug every morning.” I am not sure why Heavenly Father blessed me with this wonderful “job”. But I know he brought me to this place. If you have any questions about starting a group home, contact me. God is good

  2. Ginny

    Thank you for this site; it is so needed. You have done such a wonderful job putting it all together. This site will be a blessing to all who visit it. I know it is just getting started and not a lot of participation yet, but it will grow quickly. Many Thanks, Virginia

  3. Susan Greer Susan Greer

    My disabled daughter is 23 this year. What an incredible journey. Incredible in many ways: stressful, spiritual, unfair, enlightening, isolating, intensive, and lonely. There seemed to be very little information available when I started on this journey. This was my fifth child. I know the others didn’t come with a manual, but come on……It took much growth over many years for me to see how I had been carried – am still carried by the Lord through hard things. If I had not been where I’ve been I would not be who I am now. I like myself better for what I have experienced. I never expected those I associated with at Church to understand what this experience was like. I know that no one could by any means have explained this to me and make me understand until I experienced this first hand. It would have been nice to have brothers and sisters to lean on during the hardest years of my life who COULD understand, who had WALKED IN MY SHOES. Thank you for this site!

  4. Susan Greer Susan Greer

    I now am in a position to serve others with disabilities and their families in addition to my daughter. I love sharing with others. I love the reciprocal aspect of the gospel. I will be referring a lot of people to this site in Utah.

  5. Edwina

    Thank you for thinking of making a site where people with family members who have disablilities can discuss issues. Also the possibility of members of the church can learn more about the disabilities and issues our families face. I know for a fact, one of the reasons one of my sons left the church was due to our bishop not understanding our sons disability. Just because my son was “disabled”, our Bishop created a calling for my son. Although he’s disabled doesn’t mean he isn’t smart! This may be just the place to learn more about the disabilities members of our church face.

    • Cheryl Holmes

      Our disabled son’s Bishop created a calling for him, too, one that was tailored to his abilities, and he enjoyed it. I’m sorry your son’s experience was not comparable, but please do not blame the Bishop. Sometimes these things just don’t work out.

  6. Annie Boxell Annie Boxell

    This site is a wonderful, well designed seed that will grow into a powerful community…so well done. I wish everyone could have the blessing of the perspective I have when I am with my brother. He is a role model when it comes to love and making people smile.

  7. sage11

    I am in Zimbabwe, a member of the church. I really am grateful for this page, and I am sure I am to benefit and have people benefit from my experience in this mortal life. I have reached great heights through tough and thick.

  8. Marilyn

    I finally made it to this site. How wonderful it truly is. Every day I talk with parents who struggle to find the support they need to help their children live a safe and happy life. Thank you for taking the effort to help them.