Real Moms Share: Michelle Rocker
Michelle Rocker Marching to her own beat…
When we first met Michelle Rocker, we were instantly taken by her funny sense of humor, her wit, charm and, of course, her very red hair! Then…when we heard her story, we were sure we wanted to share it with you. Learn what she has to say…
PSN: Please give us a brief snapshot about your family and your child (now).
MR: Well, for starters, I just celebrated my 22nd anniversary with my wonderful husband, Mike. We have 4 great children: Brett, 20, who is in college; Nolan, 17, a senior in high school; Shelby, 13, is in eighth grade and Nikki, 10, is in 5th grade. Two of our children have special needs; Nolan battles bipolar disorder and Nikki was diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD. I will also add that her pediatrician said it is the worst case of ADHD she has ever seen in all her years of practice? I was hoping maybe that qualified me for some sort of a reward.
PSN: Share with us something personal YOU, as a mother to a child with special needs, had to conquer, overcome or resolve?
MR: I think the biggest thing I have had to overcome is not worrying about what other people think. I am a musician and have spent quite a bit of my life in the spotlight. I was always worried about what others thought. When your child is having a full down meltdown in the middle of the store and people are staring at you, rolling their eyes and judging you, you learn to quit worrying about what others think. They do not know that she is on sensory overload. They don’t/can’t understand it. I have also learned that I have to do what is right for my family and what I view as successful may be different from someone else’s view. For example, one day in the store she just ran around touching things. I was so happy there were no meltdowns that day. I called it a successful store trip. Other people watching might have thought differently, but they just don’t get it…and I’m okay with that.
PSN: Will you share with us an experience, lesson or “aha moment” you’ve had (at any point) in raising your child?
MR: We have been to a lot of doctors and been through so many medications. At one point, she was on four different meds and three of those meds were to help with the side effects of one of the medications! As great as the doctors are out there, they do not care for her or love her like I do. I realized that it was a “guessing game” and my daughter was the experiment. I am NOT okay with that. The doctors would say, “Try this med out and see how she does”. I was over it! Even in the school system, I was told what she needed to pass in order to achieve the next grade. Nikki can’t pass that test, but she is brilliant. So, one day, I talked with my husband and we decided to march to our own beat rather than the one being dictated to us. I started searching for therapies, natural products and diets that work for Nikki. I brought her home and started homeschooling her so that we could be in 8th grade math and 2nd grade English, if that where she needed to be. The result? She is happier than she has ever been. In fact, tonight she is going for a sleepover with a friend. Something “normal” that I would have never thought possible just a few years ago. I am her biggest advocate! I will always know more than anyone else when it comes to what is best for her.
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