When Sheila Hall delivered her third child, her world was flipped upside down. Her daughter, Katie, was born with tuberous sclerosis – a disease that causes daily seizures and a shortened lifespan.
Doctors warned Sheila and her husband that they would have a hard life and their marriage probably wouldn’t survive the toll. Sheila decided she had two options — be negative or be positive. She chose the latter.
Parenting a child with developmental disabilities is challenging, but Sheila has done everything in her power to make the best for her family and has become an active voice for those who can’t speak for themselves.
As soon as Katie was born, Sheila signed her up for assistance from the Hocking County Board of Developmental Disabilities. The family loves being part of their small Hocking County community where they feel all of their needs are truly met. “I don’t know where we would be without them,” says Sheila about the county board.
Recognizing the impact the county board had on her daughter’s life, Sheila realized that she wanted to be a part of the board and help in any way she could. She served as a board member for 10 years, then became a parent advocate and helped with employment connection.
Now, Sheila is one of the advisors that helps run the Abilities United advocacy group, which teaches people with developmental disabilities important life skills.
Years after Katie’s birth, the Hall family is stronger than ever. Sheila has instilled in her other children a kindness and understanding for those with disabilities, and she clearly loves advocating on behalf of others and her daughter.
“I want to be proud of what we did as a family,” she says. “The people who are closest to Katie, we’re the lucky ones.”