Tyler English is a 15-year-old student at Hotchkiss K-8. He was born with only partial development of the corpus callosum. The disorder, known as DCC, causes abnormalities in brain structure which lead to various disabilities.
As far as his family knows, he is the only person with the disorder in Delta County. Tyler is a delight to know and impressive with his desire to persevere through adversity. Next year he will be attending special education classes at Hotchkiss High School. Tyler and his family will be attending a comprehensive conference in San Antonio, Texas, in July about DCC. The information they gain will be used in helping Tyler transition to high school, and will even help to create his curriculum at Hotchkiss High.
Michelle Linman, Tyler's mother, said the conference will have 35 lectures over three days for the children and teens with DCC and their family members. "It's everything from transitioning to high school, lifelong strategies helping Tyler become independent, behavioral strategies," she explained. The entire gamut of what people want to know about the disorder and how to help their loved one with DCC to manage life and be fulfilled. It will include planning for the future, applying for Social Security and disability.
The conference is presented annually by the National Organization for Disorders of the Corpus Callosum, a non-profit that reaches out and supports families affected by DCC. The NODCC mission statement is "to enhance the quality of life and promote opportunities for individuals with disorders of the corpus callosum and raise the profile, understanding and acceptance of these disorders through research, education, advocacy and networking."
The corpus callosum is defined as "a thick band of nerve fibers that divides the cerebrum into left and right hemispheres. It connects the left and right sides of the brain allowing for communication between both hemispheres. The corpus callosum transfers motor, sensory, and cognitive information between the brain hemispheres."
With the disorder, the corpus callosum can be partially developed, fully developed or not developed at all. Tyler's is partially developed. "He has many difficulties from it — learning disabilities, complex reasoning, social interaction, poor motor skills, some hearing loss," Linman said. "It's a lifelong disorder. It's something he will deal with forever."
Linman said that HK8 principal Carrie Coats "has been wonderful" and his teachers have "gone above and beyond" in building a life skills based program for Tyler. Two years ago he won an award for recycling. He fills teachers' office supply orders and works in the greenhouse.
Tyler's seven-year-old sister will have the opportunity to meet and interact with other siblings of kids with DCC.
"There are very few caregivers who can take him," Linman said. The caregivers include his mother and father, grandmother and great-grandmother. The entire family will attend the conference July 6-8. In order to maximize the benefit of the conference, each family member will attend different lectures. "Tyler and our daughter will attend day camps. Tyler will meet and hopefully become friends with children like him who suffer from DCC," Linman said.
"He has spent his entire life trying to fit into our world. We figure for these three days he gets to fit into a world that is his," grandmother Marlene Searle said. "There will be kids just like him for the first time ever. . .He knows he's different, but he doesn't know why or how."
Tyler's goal for the conference "is to meet some friends."
To help the family raise money for the travel expenses and conference admission they are having a spaghetti bake dinner and silent auction on Saturday, April 14 from 4-7 p.m. at the Hotchkiss Elks Lodge. Cost is $5 a plate.
On May 11-12 in front of the Town of Hotchkiss Public Works building, the family will have a bake sale and a yard sale.
They need to raise approximately $2,500 for the trip. Donations can be given for Tyler English at the North Fork Bank in Hotchkiss or mailed to Tyler English, c/o Eric or Michelle Linman, P.O. Box 103, Crawford, CO 81415.
For more information or questions, feel free to call Eric and Michelle Linman at 921-5455 or Marlene Searle at 921-3090. For information on DCC, visit www.nodcc.org.blog comments powered by Disqus