RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Parker Marr may play piano like other teenagers but he’s not a typical 18-year-old.
Celeste and Henry Marr, Parker’s parents said their son began having seizures at eight months.
“Then at 2, we got the diagnosis of developmentally delayed and at 2-and-a-half, we go the autism diagnosis,” Celeste Marr said.
The Marrs not only found themselves learning how to raise their first child, but one with a disability.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but also the most wonderful and sometimes challenging things bring you closer together,” Celeste Marr said.
One of the things that has helped the Marrs along in this journey has been the Tammy Lynn Center and their respite care program.
“What Tammy Lynn Center does is provide that trained staff to go into that home so that family member, that family unit, whatever that looks like they can go out, get their lives done and they have a trained support staff with their loved one,” said Holly Richard, president and CEO, Tammy Lynn Center.
Richard heads the Center that serves children and adults of any age who have developmental or intellectual disabilities.
“Our founding families all had children with special needs and in the 60s, children didn’t even have the right to public education so you can imagine how difficult it was,” Richard said.
While the Center has come a long way since being founded in the basement of Greenforest Baptist Church in Cary in 1969, the more than 400 families they serve today are very thankful.
“We have this awesome teenager who’s sweet and kind and he’s like a 4- or 5-year-old, he likes Mickey Mouse and how many parents of teenagers can say that?” Celeste Marr said.