August 2018 - Lang-1 Feature Image

A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: A SHARED FAMILY JOURNEY

As summer keeps its steamy pace, the Lang family calendar unfolds a lot like that of many Seacoast families: a visit to the Isles of Shoals, Water Country, camping, birthday parties, and cook-outs with family and friends. It’s a fun but hectic season, with dance classes for Rylee and horseback-riding for her big sister, Sydnee, to squeeze into a busy schedule.

For 8-year old Sydnee, the pace can become overwhelming sometimes, but the family gathers around her. She was diagnosed with dyspraxia when she was 3 years old and since she was profiled here last August, it has been a year of gains and new challenges. Both for Sydnee and for her family.

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MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: FINDING SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES

Karen Tellier figures she’s worked with hundreds of children with disabilities and their families over the years. Sixteen years to be exact, since she started working at One Sky, and 14 of those spent working with children under 21. It’s a lot of numbers and they add up. Now, as the agency’s Family Support Children’s Service Coordinator, she has a caseload of 215 children between the ages of 3 and 16 who live with their families.

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MOTHER OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD RUNS TO HER ROLE OF RAISING AWARENESS

Karen and Patrick Lyons had no reason to expect anything other than routine when Karen gave birth to their second child in 2007. The pregnancy was normal and the delivery was unexceptional. By all appearances, Luke Lyons would be a typical infant headed for life with his parents and an older sister at home in Portsmouth. But shortly after he was born, a doctor examining Luke delivered a diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that presents a range of physical, cognitive and medical challenges. It was the moment when Karen realized “the second half of my life started.”

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TICKED OFF: MOTHER’S SEARCH FOR REASONS FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE LEADS TO LYME DISEASE

The 25-year old woman in Kim Gobbi’s bathroom vaguely resembled her daughter, but the young woman was hitting herself in the face, punching her own stomach, and pulling her own hair.

“She got in my face and was yelling and I was just wondering, ‘who are you?'” Kim recalls. With behavior that was becoming increasingly aggressive and abusive, her daughter, Tracey, had become unrecognizable.

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: ONE SKY COMMUNITY SERVICES MARKS 35TH ANNIVERSARY WITH BENEFIT NOV. 8

For more than 35 years, One Sky Community Services has been dedicated to the notion that every individual has the potential – and the right – to live a rich and fulfilling life and make an important contribution to the community in which they live.

When it opened its doors in 1983, the Portsmouth-based agency was assisting inmates from Laconia State School in the transition from life in an institution to life in the communities where they were born. Though its mission has changed since Laconia closed its doors decades ago, the focus for One Sky has remained the same: assist individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders in fulfilling their potential and contributing to their communities.

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AN EXHIBITION FOR ARTISTS WITH ALTERNATE ABILITIES

PORTSMOUTH – The New Hampshire Art Association and One Sky Community Services have joined forces to present a special exhibition of art created by individuals with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders – which are today considered “alternate abilities.”
The work of these talented artists will be on display from Jan. 10 through Jan. 21 at the NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery at 136 State Street. A public reception, hosted by the NHAA and the One Sky Family Support Advisory Council, will be held at the gallery on Saturday, Jan. 13, from 12 to 3 p.m.

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ONE SKY: GRAY’S PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES

When Nathan Gray stepped into the coffee shop, he avoided a handshake greeting, excusing himself to the rest room to wash his hands with a display of his palm, saying, “I just killed a mosquito.” If it seems a little overcautious, it turns out he has good reason – a mosquito nearly killed him 10 years ago.
“He was an average 13-year old boy playing outside with his friends,” says Gray’s mother, Robin, recalling a typical August day for New England adolescents when Nathan likely received the fateful insect bite. Now Nathan is a 23-year-old photographer coping, along with his close-knit family, with the neurological changes and challenges that his near-fatal bout with Eastern Equine Encephalitis – the Triple E virus – left him to face

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MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: LACK OF CAREGIVERS HITS HOME

For nearly two years Audrey Gerkin has provided One Sky with a whirlwind of spirited engagement with the issues as the agency’s Family Advocacy and Education Liaison. Now, as the direct support crisis continues to bloom with no end in sight, the very issue that Gerkin has been so vehement about resolving has come home to affect her own life and ripple through the agency.

Unable to find staff to fill out the support hours needed for her 16-year old daughter, Gerkin will be leaving her position with One Sky in January to care for her daughter, Lexi. She is currently in tenth grade at the Monarch School and was diagnosed at age 12 with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome and a rare epilepsy syndrome known as PCDH 19.

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TWO MISSIONS, ONE VISION: ONE SKY, GATHER NH HAVE EXHIBITS AT NHAA GALLERY THROUGH JAN. 29

Two Portsmouth-based non-profits that advocate for two different social issues have found common cause with a collaborative art exhibit. One Sky Community Services, which supports people with disabilities, and Gather NH, which tackles hunger, have taken over the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery on State Street this month for an exhibit put on by the NH Art Association.

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A MATTER OF PERSPECTIVE: THE MANY HANDS OF TOM OWENS

Tom Owens has tow hands that tend to ignore what he tells them to do. So the first time he was asked if he’d like to try painting, he looked down at his immobile hands and decline to try because he thought he couldn’t make them do the work. But Owns would come to learn that, as a painter, he wouldn’t need his hands. What he would need were the hands belonging to friend Jay Dochlier.

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