No Place Like Home

Apr 18, 2011
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One of my top priorities upon completion of my book (“101 Games and Activities for Youth with Autism”) was a return home to Pittsburgh to thank family, friends, and relatives for their support.

Once I started this book, it became obvious that many people in my life were instrumental in making this project a reality. I had so many people to thank. Life is short but this project really taught me to appreciate what’s most important and to take the time to acknowledge and celebrate this special accomplishment along with its many contributors.

One of my vivid childhood memories was getting to know Marilyn Hoyson, my oldest sister’s best friend, and how I wanted to grow up and be just like her….pretty and smart. Well this past weekend when my friend, Kim, and I arrived in Pittsburgh, our first scheduled stop was at The Watson Institute for Exceptional Children and Their Educator where Marilyn Hoyson, Ph.D is now the Chief Operating Officer. She gave us a glorious tour of her magnificent school and its students. We witnessed the children’s access to the very best equipment and the school’s first rate teaching instruction.

Thanks to my family, they organized a book signing for me at 6:00pm Friday night at my sister’s Bed and Breakfast, the Inn on Negley, near the University of Pittsburgh in Shadyside. I was teary eyed when my Dad walked through the door, thinking back to his 7-day work weeks and remembering the hope and inspiration he offered to families and their children with disabilities. It’s like my life came full circle at that moment, knowing my dad did so much for children with special needs.

Just as this memorable evening was coming to an end, I bumped into Brian Jacobs, his wife Jamie, and his brother Jeffrey. I knew Brian and the Jacobs family growing up in Bridgeville. Brian was a very talented athlete who received a wrestling scholarship from the University of Pittsburgh and went on to beat the odds following a very unfortunate accident. He was teaching youth wrestling at a local YMCA, when two of his friends were fooling around and jumped on his back and broke Brian’s neck. I can’t begin to tell his story of triumph but as a quadriplegic, married with 2 children and a thriving business, I asked Brian if he would consider sharing his feats in one of my future blogs (stay tuned).

Each day I learn more about the importance of sharing our time and telling our stories with others. As my book signing wrapped up, I opened up Patti’s gift which was a sterling book paper weight with the “perfect” inscription to end this blog……SMG, every accomplishment begins with a decision to try.

Author: suzanne