Brad and his parents first found Developmental Pathways when he was in preschool. He loved school and socializing with his classmates but needed more support than a neurotypical student. Once his mother, Mayre Lynn, and father, Dave, began navigating the I/DD system, they felt alone and left out from other families and often wished for other parents who understood their experience raising a child with a developmental disability.
After finding Developmental Pathways, Brad and his parents finally felt they belonged. They were able to connect with families like theirs. Mayre Lynn remembered feeling like someone was in the game with them, to support and work with them with their best interest in mind.
Sports seemed always to be an interest to Brad. Dave noticed Brad’s growing interest in basketball and golf, so he signed Brad up to participate in Special Olympics. Soon, Dave began coaching for Special Olympics.
“[Everyone is] so unique. I didn’t think I would have ever gotten involved and coached kids for that entire 20 years, but it’s not like coaching high school or college when you coach them for a few years, and then they’re gone. These kids are around for a while,” said Dave.
Participants in Special Olympics play on teams for decades. Dave became “Coach” to generations of basketball players. He spent years with the same players and was able to see them flourish, which he said was the real reward.
For instance, he coached a new player to the game and would get frustrated quickly, struggling to regulate his emotions. The player stuck with the game, and over several years, Dave saw him grow in confidence and emotional maturity.
While Brad and Dave played sports, Mayre Lynn joined the Developmental Pathways Board of Directors, serving DP staff and families for the past six years—a challenging and rewarding venture. Mayre Lynn is one of four parents of people with an intellectual or developmental disability or delay currently serving on DP’s board. Her perspective is invaluable in shaping the future for thousands of people like Brad with unique skills and big dreams.
Because of the pandemic, Dave and Mayre Lynn had a lot of extra time at home and have seen it as a gift to get to spend so much quality time with their son. Together they watched sports games, went for drives, and practiced putting on their indoor green. They’re thankful for organizations like Developmental Pathways and Special Olympics, who have supported and celebrated Brad and their whole family’s growth.
Share your story with us at email@example.com.