Noah's Ark of Central Florida

Empowering people who have developmental disabilities to live, laugh and love

Laura’s Journey…

Everything changed when Laura was 9 months old with fever of 106….bacterial H-Flu meningitis, intensive care, seizures for 48 hours, and 3 week hospitalization. In 1983 the HIB vaccine that PREVENTS this horrific illness was given at 3 years of age. This miracle vaccine is now given at 2-3 months of age. This began the journey with a special needs daughter. Her normal IQ was fried away by fever and disease. Instead of 3 digit IQ it would become 2 digit well under the 70 mark for developmentally disabled.

The move to Noah’s Landing really started with an M-Team meeting in high school setting a long term goal: “To live as independently as possible”

After high school Laura wanted to go away to “college” like her brother and cousins. This pushed us to let her experience Stewart’s Home School in Frank fort Ky.

Laura was no kidding “Miss Stewart Home” loved it for several years until she was ready to ‘live more independently”. There was a very brief trial in group apartment not successful, back home miserable, isolated, and no friends. Then in 2008 the move to Bishop Grady Villas in St Cloud. Laura gained life and work skills I never thought she could. The best was her eager packing to fly home on Southwest to Nashville and after a week her eager packing to get back to her friends.

In April 2016 on a Friendship Cruise for 4 days we met Roger father of Trish who Laura and I knew from Special Olympics. Roger told me about Noah’s Landing and boom my husband and I visited first without Laura. I cried when Bill showed us around. It was my dream: club house, community activities, some food service, and beautiful. Laura visited with her dad and wanted to move in that day. We did the whole process interview, application, and then with what seemed like a forever slow 3 months finally moved in at end Aug 2017. Laura was full of excitement, anxiety, fear and determined bravery.

I will always remember the first night she slept in her apartment alone. Her other 2 roomies were not there. Laura had never stayed alone at home for any time at all, zero, none, day or night. I was staying in Lakeland for 2 weeks to get her settled in and hire support services. A precious memory happened at the Neat Center September 4th. Laura was with 3 new friends having fun. It was time to leave if she was going to stay with me at the hotel. Laura expressed uncertainty and fear of being alone in her apartment. Her new friend Clayton said “Laura here’s the deal: your people live here, your family. Noah’s Landing is safe…we’ve got security cameras and even the post office doesn’t know where we are!” Laura looked at me and announced she was staying in her apartment.

She informed me I could walk with her back to her apartment…and we did. She told me goodnight, closed the door, and that was that!

As is often true, the problem is me not my custom made daughter. I have to work every day on letting go of wanting to be in control and limiting Laura’s life. Noah’s Landing is a really good match for Laura. My mother’s heart is filled with gratitude because I will not always be on this earth and my daughter is happy. Laura is every day making what she calls “baby steps” towards living HER life “as independently as possible”. All this because a group of parents not only had the dream but figured out how to make it happen!

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