The Joys of Jennifer: Finding success for your child with CHARGE syndrome or other challenges
“The Joys of Jennifer” is a true story written by Carolyn Siewicki, Jennifer’s mother.
In the book, Carolyn describes challenges and successes of Jennifer’s CHARGE Syndrome.
Page by page, the book gives parents of children with challenges or special needs the hope, confidence and reassurance in their parenting skills.
“Would you give up on your child if you were told, right from birth, that there was no hope? If we had done that, my daughter Jennifer would not have thrived with her many challenges,” Carolyn wrote.
Jennifer’s diagnosis didn’t come until she was five, but her parent’s knew from the beginning that she would need special care.
At birth, health issues inundated Jennifer’s body, ranging from heart defects, nasal passage blockage, delay of growth and development, ear abnormalities and hearing impairments, all of which are associated with CHARGE.
“Even with all this, Jennifer is living her life her way with spirit, humor and joy,” Carolyn said. “She always sees herself as anybody else with hopes, dreams and goals.”
“The Joys of Jennifer” highlights the woman as a brave pioneer.
According to Carolyn, Jennifer was one of the first to break from a self-contained classroom to inclusion in a general education class at her home school.
“Back in the early 90s, that was a big deal. Some teacher’s didn’t think she belonged there, but in Jennifer’s words, ‘I did belong there!’”
High school not only prepared Jennifer for a job after graduating but also for college at Oakland University, earning a three-year certificate of completion.
With a bright future ahead of her, Jennifer has helped promote her self-titled book, and she’s enrolled in a 20-week film workshop at Oakland University.
“We always look at what Jennifer can do and build on that,” Carolyn said. When faced with a problem, we think, what can we do to make this work? Jennifer will tell you, ‘I can try.’”