Meet Madden! He LOVES the water, and if he could, he would swim in the pool all day long! Madden is such a ray of light in so many people's lives, and even though he is nonverbal, he is so social and can make truly anybody (even strangers!) play with him. To learn more about his AMAZING accomplishment of learning how to wave, the uplifting and amazing support his family has received through social media, and more, read the interview down below conducted with his mother.
1. Hello! To start off, can you tell me about Madden?
Madden is 5 (almost 6) and has a rare genetic syndrome called Angelman Syndrome which causes him to have significant developmental delays, seizures, sleeping issues, being non verbal (most likely during his entire life) and a lot of excitement. We finally got the diagnosis a year ago after many genetic tests, MRI’s, therapies, and EEGs. He is a very happy boy, and has a smile that can truly light up any room!
2. What are Madden's best strengths?
Besides his insanely strong grip when he gets a handful of your hair, Madden shines with light. His spirit shines beyond his physical and mental limitations. He is a perfect example of finding joy in the little things in life.
3. What has Madden recently accomplished?
Madden recently learned how to wave on command. It is about the cutest thing I have ever seen and he loves to wave at everyone and anyone! Another big milestone was being able to drink out of a straw. We have always been worried about his liquid intake, and this has been such a game changer!
4. What do you love most about Madden?
Madden is very social. He likes to look you in the eyes and thrives with one on one attention. He can make any stranger play with him. He is extremely good at non verbal communication and can make most people understand him with his grunts and gestures.
5. What are Madden's hobbies?
Madden LOVES water (a trait of angelman syndrome). He could swim in a warm pool or water hole all day long! He also loves watching other children play. He will stand on a playground and be so happy watching the kids around him running and laughing. He also loves watching real people do things on YouTube, such as getting on trains, singing, doing magic tricks etc.
6. Do you have any recommendations for other Angelman families?
Yes! My biggest resource has been my Angelman syndrome Facebook group I am in. We all take care of children with this rare syndrome, and our stories are almost exactly alike. I go to them when I have a bad day, medicine question, and anything else Madden related.
7. What important life lessons has Madden taught you?
Madden has taught me, my husband, and our 2 daughters how to be more understanding and kind people. We have learned the power of service and its ability to bring peace and love into our home as we serve Madden and his needs. We have also learned how huge the special needs community is and all the things we can do in this world to improve the day to day lives for those with disabilities.
8. When someone meets Madden for the first time, what do you hope they think?
Madden was meant to be exactly how and who he is. God doesn’t make mistakes. He has a big purpose on this earth.