Matthew Houska’s story begins the day he his born. Happiness abounds until the next day when a doctor tells the parents their baby boy has Down syndrome. What follows is an anguish only a parent who has been through this would understand. Grief, guilt and anger are followed by determination to make things right. With firm resolve and a belief that her son could learn anything — despite being told there was little hope for his future — Matthew’s mother proves the experts wrong.
Her methods are outlined in the story that involves mountains of word cards and constant stimulation. Matthew was reading a few words at age 3, and by age 10, he was learning to play the piano. His story tells of the hills and valleys his family encountered in daily life in school and the community. The reader shares with Matthew the sorrow at the death of his grandmother and the devastation that comes with having a grandfather with Alzeimer’s as well as other tragedies he encounters. The story takes the reader through the highs and lows he experiences from pre-school to high school.
He makes the most of his musical talent. By the time he is 17, he is playing piano, guitar, harmonica and saxophone. For the Love of Matthew is heartwarming, sad and funny. It’s a must-read for parents facing similar challenges.
The sequel, Matt Houska — Ability Not Disability — begins where The Love of Matthew leaves off. Matt is 17 at the beginning of the book and 26 at the end. The book takes the reader through
what are possibly the most difficult times in a person’s life — transitioning from dependence to independence. Both books are illustrated with black and white photos. Find more here.