Relearning as a Special Needs Mom
Andee Cooper and Kannon
Andee Cooper is a both a parent and caregiver to her 10-year-old son Kannon.
Early in his life, Kannon was developing on pace cognitively with his peers. But at age 5, he was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Symptoms of the disease include regular seizures and cognitive regression. As a result, Kannon has become developmentally disabled.
A single parent, Andee turned to TARC for support and guidance in navigating the limited services available to Kannon.
TARC is a United Way partner agency that provides advocacy, education, and support for children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families.
“TARC helped me become an advocate for Kannon, provided counseling and support for our family, and helped us become aware of services in the community,” Andee said.
However, the waiting list for the few services available for developmentally disabled children and adults through the State of Oklahoma can be up to 12 years.
“Without TARC, I wouldn’t have known what to do,” Andee recalls. “Perhaps most importantly, they helped me find the strength to become a voice for my son.”
To make matters worse, Kannon was not responding to medication, making the need for support even more important.
Today Kannon is an active, athletic young man who can hit three-pointers on the basketball court. He is a fourth grader in the special education program at Jenks Northwest Elementary School.
“Resources provided by TARC, the support we receive at his school, and in-home nursing has really reduced his stress level,” Andee says. “I believe that’s why he hasn’t had a seizure in three months.”