Being a member of a family with a child with special needs means experiencing challenges and opportunities other families may not encounter. Thirteen-year-old Amber is the oldest of six children in the Tra family. Amber has Smith-Magenis Syndrome, with learning disabilities and behavioral challenges.
“For our family, Rainbows fills a need that lets our family feel more normal,” said Katy, Amber’s mom. “Amber gets to feel more like the other kids because she has her own activity outside of home.”
While Amber attends public school, her five siblings are homeschooled. “Rainbows helps with this, too! Amber’s brothers and sisters love her, but it can be a challenge to have her around during the school day,” explained Katy. “When she is home, Amber will often take my attention away from the other children or she will disrupt their activities. We are able to finish up the school day while Amber is at Rainbows’ latchkey.”
Amber attends the latchkey program and also Camp Woodchuck. “I love how Amber has become more active. At Rainbows, there are so many opportunities for activities and interactions,” said Katy. “Amber is delightful. She is so fun to be with and makes her favorite people feel pretty special. She has a lot of favorite people!”
Amber’s dad, Frank, is a cancer pharmacist and author. Frank recently published a picture book that features the Tra children as characters. Masterpiece Robot and the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack is a fun story about siblings playing and imagining together. Amber’s alter-ego in the book is the Ferocious Valerie Knick-Knack. Copies of this special book are in the Rainbows’ Kids’ Point and Kids’ Cove children’s libraries, and available for purchase on Amazon.com.