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Faith Plays Big Role with Mom




Every now and then, a person featured here attributes faith as pivotal in their being able to cope with disability-one in themselves or family members. Sue Ihejirika of North Minneapolis, Minnesota, is one such example.

In a telephone interview, Ihejirika said, "(Our son) Spencer was born a typical kid, without any health problems, until he was about five. We had gone on a trip to Wisconsin and on the way back he began having a fever and sleeping for long periods of time."

That same month, in August 2004, on a train ride to Chicago, Spencer began vomiting and experienced at least two grand mal seizures. The hospital couldn't pinpoint a cause. Spencer wasn't talking, couldn't go to the bathroom alone, and was, Ihejirika said, "cognitively vacant." He started having even more seizures and fits of high fever. Then an MRI showed brain damage.

She said, "We think he was bit by a tick or mosquito carrying some type of disease. There really has never been a diagnoses for what happened except for brain damage. Doctors think an infection in his brain caused it."

After being homeschooled two years, Spencer recovered enough to return to public school and lead a relatively normal life given his cognitive limitations until last year at age 15. That's when he began experiencing severe symptoms all over again.

Ihejirika said, "He started showing more signs again of anxiety and fear, and he had a psychotic episode. The medication he was taking was hard on him. He went back to not being able to go to the bathroom alone and I had to help him with everything. For a while, he couldn't read books on his own or focus on anything."

He has improved since then, but still needs much more time than the average teenager to process information. He often needs instructions repeated, and his school modifies his school work to fit his current abilities. At school, Spencer plays football, and the coach loves his positive attitude.

Spencer's difficulties have been tough on his father, who was born and raised in Africa, where children with disabilities often are treated as outcasts.

Said Ihejirika, "I just have to trust God knows what He is doing with Spencer. I just need to trust. Spencer reads his Bible every morning and is always asking about heaven. He is on a totally different wavelength than any other 16-year-old."







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LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.

Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.

Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com



Placer County News Headlines

Roseville 5th Graders Provide Inspiration to PatientsEach month, fifth-grade students from Stoneridge Elementary School's Leadership Club visit Sutter Rehabilitation Institute (SRI) in Roseville to visit patients.

Rocklin Unified's Beleaguered Special Ed Program Seeks ChangeThe Rocklin Unified School District has contracted with WestED to perform a study on its beleaguered Special Education department.

Roseville Charity Hearts that Care Partners with Placer SIUOn December 17th, 2014, The Placer County Special Investigation Unit (SIU), a Placer County Law Enforcement Task Force comprised of State and local Placer County law enforcement

Roseville Crime Report Digest Update (12.19.14)Crime report digest update for Roseville California, December 19, 2014

Food for 400,000 Meals Raised for Placer Food BankThunder Valley Casino Resort and Whitney Oaks Golf Club have collected over 50,000 pounds of food for Placer Food Bank food drive.

Rocklin Man Victim of Elder Abuse and ID TheftLaura Kirkwood, 23 years old of Sacramento, was arrested and booked at the Placer County Jail on suspicion of elder abuse and ID theft of a 74 year old Rocklin man.

Shocking Find in Colfax Storage Unit: Human RemainsA woman called the Placer County Sheriff's Office to report a foul odor coming from an abandoned storage unit that she had just purchased through an auction

Napa Valley's New Year's Eve Bash in CalistogaCome celebrate the New Year with the return of Celebrate! Napa Valley's New Year's Eve Bash on Dec. 31, 2014 at 10 p.m. in Calistoga, Calif.

Murders by Guns Continue Declining, Suicides On RiseWhile the overall death rate from firearm violence has remained unchanged for more than a decade, the patterns for suicide and homicide have changed dramatically

Sutter Health Donates to Placer Food Bank Roseville, Calif., - One in six people in California go hungry, including many in Placer County. To help provide meals for those in need, Sutter Health provided a donation

Nobel Prize Winner to Speak at MIND InstituteThomas C. Sdhof, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, will address his research on how defects in a 'glue' that binds together proteins at the neuronal synapses may play a role in the etiology of autism spectrum disorder

New Low Down Payment Mortgages: As Low As 3 PercentRoseville Realtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty, writes about new low down payment loans being backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


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