Alum’s trials, joys help parents

By Sean Harvey ’10

Published Thursday, March 31, 2011


Shortly after Kimberly Ahlum ’94 gave birth to a beautiful son named Taylor, he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome.


Giving up her full-time job to raise Taylor, Ahlum decided to share the difficulties and joys of raising a child with Down Syndrome with other parents of special needs children.


Ahlum’s book, Including Taylor, hits the stands in September. This is a nonfiction account of one woman’s fight to make sure that her child with Down Syndrome has the same opportunity for a fulfilling life as any other child has in the United States. “My No. 1 priority in writing the book was to share my very private and personal life with others in hoping to help them. The difficulties I have had with raising Taylor have mostly been finding the proper resources to help him,” said Ahlum.


When asked what the most rewarding part of raising Taylor is, Ahlum said, “My everyday life with my son, especially his insatiable laugh, his hugs and his smiles. He has taught me the true meaning of compassion and awareness and how to treat others in our community, whether they have disabilities or not.”


Ahlum hopes her knowledge and her book will help other parents whose children have a disability. “For any parent with a child who has special needs, we learn from our child's birth we are their voice and advocate. I also felt that regardless of a person's ability or inability they all have equal value. Just because a person has challenges, mentally or physically, that doesn't mean they are any less of a person. You just need to learn how to hone in on the skills they do have, and appreciate them for who they are,” she said. Ahlum now offers consulting and coaching for parents of special needs children.