The months after our middle son, Ben, was born were a blur. Even in the fog of getting accustomed to having two children and preparing for another out of state move, we knew something was different about him. Over the next few years, we had to piece together Ben's different issues until we finally reached a diagnosis (which is so rare, it doesn't have a name). During that time, we were told by various physicians that Ben would never walk, never talk, never understand us, never eat, never be independent in any meaningful way. His life - our lives - would never be normal.
Enter Frankie Lemmon School, a tuition-free preschool that provides exceptional education and therapies for children who have intellectual, physical, and developmental delays. We were fortunate that Ben was one of the 25 children who was able to attend FLS. During his three years there, Ben learned to walk, run, jump, talk, spell, and read. His social skills and language capabilities exploded. Ben transitioned from eating almost exclusively pureed foods to being able to chew and use utensils. He performed little miracles every day, and once his time at Frankie Lemmon School came to an end, he had shattered all of the dismal predictions for his life. We take a tiny fraction of credit for helping, but we fully acknowledge that almost all of the difference was made by the dedication and hard work of the teachers, staff, and therapists at FLS. As a result, Ben is now a thriving first grader in a regular classroom at our neighborhood school.
When we think of Frankie Lemmon School, our hearts are filled with gratitude, along with a sliver of guilt that more children have not been able to enjoy these advantages. With a capacity of only 25 lucky children, I can't help but think of all of the children in Wake County who miss out on the specialized training, extreme dedication, and supportive environment afforded by Frankie Lemmon School. We want every child to overcome the imaginary obstacles placed before them by reduced expectations. Developmental and intellectual delays do not equate to worthlessness. All of our children deserve an opportunity to shine . Landy and I will be forever indebted to Frankie Lemmon School for what they have done for Ben and our family. If you know Ben, have been touched by his story, or have been the lucky recipient of one of his patented squeezy hugs, we ask you to join us in supporting this worthwhile cause.