Impact Story: The Barkley Family

This month's Impact Story is from a very dear family from Georgia.  Cynthia Barkley leads our Connect Group in Griffin, Georgia and has been such a supporter and encourager of Rising Above for years now. Today we are thrilled to introduce you to them and let you hear a bit about their special-needs journey, and how Rising Above has impacted their family along the way. 

Tell us about your family...

I [Cynthia] and my husband, Pearse, have been married for almost 28 years and we have three sons - Jordan (23), Joshua (19) and Josiah (15).  We like watching movies, traveling together, and playing board games.  Our youngest son, Josiah, has autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder.  He wears AFOs and also has feeding and GI issues. He is such a joy to our family.  

What was your response to your child's diagnosis?  What was the response of your spouse and other children?

I was in shock. I didn't know about autism. I cried everyday. My husband seemed to take it in stride. I'm not sure if it was because he taught school, but he said we have to trust God. My children didn't know or understand until he [Josiah] started to regress and not make eye contact. I am just now really seeing the impact on my other children. They have adopted over the years the persona of not asking for anything, trying to be perfect and not causing any problems, which is a heavy burden on a kid. The flip side of this is they are very caring. They will befriend a special needs person and show an interest in what they do or say. We also had to go to band concerts or football games separately because Josiah is very sensitive to sounds. Crowds are overwhelming to him sometimes.

How did you first learn of Rising Above?

Donna Whaley told me about RAM. We both went with our husbands to the two-gether retreat. After that I started going to By the Brook.

How has Rising Above impacted your life?

I felt isolated as a special needs mom. When I met other special needs parents and started going to the mom's retreats (By the Brook), I really saw I was not alone. I had taught children's church and Sunday School for years at my church, but after I had Josiah I knew I couldn't continue because of his needs. When I was asked to be an affiliate through RAM in Georgia, I didn't know if I could do it. My husband and I prayed about it. I am now a part of an awesome group of special needs moms in my community. We encourage and pray for each other. We also look at God's word to strengthen and guide us.

I'm just so thankful to be a small part of RAM and for having the opportunity to share my faith with other special needs moms. I want each one to know Jesus, because He is the only one that can truly help us on this special needs journey.

Are there specific Rising Above events that your family enjoys?

My husband and I love the Two-gether conferences and I love By the Brook! It is one of my favs to do every year!

Because of your generous giving, families like the Barkley family are able to experience support, encouragement, inspiration and community along their journey.  Your financial support, volunteer time, and faithful prayers truly make an impact in the lives of special-needs families.  Thank you for joining us in our mission to lift up the special-needs community and reach them with the love of God and hope that is found in Christ. 

You can partner with us today by clicking here.