Nicole Kalkowski: Fighting for Children with Special Needs

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

“You have unique experiences with each one of your children. I think that working to cultivate happiness in your home, even though you could be going through hard things . . . really pays off.  What you think about transcends, and it impacts your everyday life.”

Nicole Kalkowski has had to fight for her son throughout his entire life.  From a toddler diagnosed with regressive autism then immediately after with a myriad of diseases, including mitochondria and epilepsy (see below for a more extensive list). Nicole has relied on her intuition and resilience to get doctors to hear her and to help her son.  She has literally kept him alive.

Redbook Magazine covered the Kalkowski family for an entire year, documenting what it was like to have a then-three-year old son with autism.  (A beautiful picture from the feature is below, with article links in the show notes.) Nicole later became an advocate and got amazing legislation passed that will ensure other parents don't have to face the darkness helplessly, as her family had.  

Ryan (now almost a teen!) requires round-the-clock care.  Nicole, with her husband and three other children, have adopted the phrase "Roll with it!" when life presents new challenges or interruptions  to each day.  That decision to let go is repeated often in Nicole's story, as she learned to rely on others, on God, and to search for happiness wherever possible.  And Nicole sees it everywhere.

You'll be inspired by this mother's resilience, how she knows who Ryan is at his core, and how she can say she is now grateful for the dark times she and her family have faced.

Ryan's Diagnoses:
* Mitochondrial disease
* No immune system
* Multiple autoimmune diseases
* Dysautonomia, affecting heart and organs
* Hypoglycemia
* Life-threatening epilepsy
* Global hypotonia and bigamous laxity
* Tremors
* Debilitating nerve pain
* Sleep apnea
* Asthma
* Hashimotos
* Multiple gastrointestinal diagnoses
* Autism and developmental delay


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Show Notes:
Redbook articles on Kalkowski family: hereherehere, and here
Another article on Ryan's Make-A-Wish fulfillment
Last week's interview with Briana Johnson
SURVEY!!!! (It takes less than a minute to fill out--thank you!)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas


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