Andrew M, age 15

Photograph by Forrest Briggs (2023)

Andrew’s boundless energy, sweet demeanor, broad smile, and resiliency bring joy to his family and others. He shows his happiness through his infectious laugh and goofy personality. Andrew’s diagnoses include autism, epilepsy, and a rare gene mutation (COL4A3BP). He is nonverbal, but uses few words including IPAD, eat, want, drink.

A curious explorer, Andrew likes engaging with the environment around him. He finds imaginative ways to create sounds in his environment—gravitating to metal and canvas. He likes to carry a jingle ball that makes a sound when it shakes. A music lover, Andrew will join his brother and Dad in playing guitar or drums. He also loves swings, swimming, and shopping or just being out in the community.

Andrew has taught his family to be more patient, slow down, and show more patience with others. They accept him unconditionally and will do anything for him. His mother, Karen says: “Andrew helps us live in the moment and enjoy the everyday joys of life.”

Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.