The Charlan Family
Some families seem to be able to rise to any challenge that they encounter. With their strong faith behind them, the Charlans are one of those families. Parents Nathan and Renee started working with The Arc when little Zakary (Zak) was just 2 years old and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. They had been told by doctors that he would never speak, but guess what? He could say his own name by age three thanks to his fighting spirit and his parents’ determined and loving voices. Nathan and Renee advocated for Zak early on and also started a website for parents of children with special needs and eventually drew 17,000 followers. They traveled around the country interviewing parents with children with IDD and amplified their voices. The site also has a video of Zak as an infant that serves as a training vehicle to educate parents on how to react when a baby has a seizure. Nathan has been helping our chapter with video production for Summit of Hope feature videos for many years and we’re delighted to have his skills and experienced voice to help us tell our stories. For Zak, consistency in providers, teachers, and therapists have greatly benefited him, along with conductive therapy. Today, Zak is a musically gifted 14-year-old and a big brother to 9-year-old sister Maddie. He has a strong sense of family, a keen sense of humor and a girlfriend who adores him.