My name is Rosalyn Roper and I am the mother of Kelcie Roper an autistic teen. I have known since Kelcie was two and half years old, that he was different. When my then husband and I received the diagnoses that Kelcie was autistic we first went through the grief process. It was hard to accept that Kelcie needed care the rest of his life. Coming to the realization that this was not going to go away took a very long time. I had dreamed of a perfect family with a perfect future for all my children. I did ask GOD why me. God’s answer to me was that his grace was sufficient for me.
Kelcie was in the state of California at the time of his diagnoses, which meant that he had access to early intervention services. Being a parent of a child with autism the additional childcare services meant more than I could express with words. Kelcie learned to have a structured schedule as well as different type of learning regiment designed for educating a child with autism. It was a great start for Kelcie, but like with everything there is a season. Our season in California was up and like many military families it was time to go to another base but that would bring change to everyone in the household especially Kelcie.
The next School was in Great Falls, Montana, which was the exact opposite of extended care and additional services he received in California. In short but brief terms, Montana was small in population as well as in services. At this point in my life, I consulted someone who is an integral part of my life, GOD. Through prayer and research, I was guided to the right people and I ask the right questions to get the services needed for Kelcie. In this location it seemed as if we had stepped into a time warp because Kelcie had stopped progressing in every area. I could do nothing but seek out professionals to give some insight on the behavioral changes that Kelcie was going through. Kelcie slowly adjusted to his environment, but I began to wonder am I the only one going through the struggle finding services for my child with autism. Services not only to assist him, but that also reached out to parents who needed guidance on raising an autistic child. It was as if GOD said okay you want these services for your son make it happen for others. I pondered in my mind how I could make a difference in the lives of families of children with autism.
In Montana was where I discovered GOD could use me to make a difference, if I would just say yes to his will. I knew that something must be done to help children with autism. I began to formulate my vision for helping autistic children while in Montana. I saw my own son getting older and less services (educational) being offered for older children with autism so the idea of helping children older was conceived. It was not until we were transferred to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama which was our original home; that GOD said this is the place and the time to change not only the lives of children with autism and their families, but to educate, enlighten and make autism known in a tangible way to the community. Kelcie’s Place is the vision and the door to open endless possibilities to a group of children who as I always say, “can and will learn.” Through my own trials raising Kelcie I have found resources that will help other families like mine to achieve as near a normal life with an autistic child as possible. Thus Kelcie’s Place is the result of the vision I had to help the children who need to be helped to achieve a productive life.
Founder and CEO, Kelcie’s Place Inc.