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Carl Love: Museum showcases extra challenges, extra joys of special-needs families

By in Press Enterprise on February 8, 2018

By Carl Love

Tyler Phippen makes this noise that sounds so much like an elephant that you think you are standing on an African savannah.

Then he makes this train whistle that has you swearing you’re on a southbound.

Now he has the biggest smile on his face, so proud of his talents. It’s joy we should all be so blessed with.

As a special-needs person, Phippen, 22, is one of the many guests of honor at a recent reception for the Super Parents exhibit at the Temecula Valley Museum through April 1. If you haven’t seen it, do.

Hanging in the second floor of the museum, 15 large banners with pictures and words tell the story of families living in California, including five local ones, who “provide care for their children with special needs every day and every night,” as a promotional flier for the exhibit says.

It’s 24/7 and then some.

Many of the banners include the phrase “an unending cycle,” with photos and words of how intense it can be.

Yes, says Brad Snell of Temecula, father of Corrie, raising a special-needs child can mean you’ll never be an empty nester. And it changes your perspective for sure.

Yet Corrie has brought a love to his family, including wife Julie and five daughters, which almost brings me to tears as he describes it.

“She is just love personified,” he says of Corrie.

We talk about that most wonderful of human qualities, empathy, and how Corrie’s presence has developed it so profoundly in her family.

The Snell family banner indicates there is no holding back with Corrie.

“She tells people she has an extra chromosome and that means EXTRA SPECIAL!” the banner reads.

Another features the Smith family, who moved to Temecula in 2012 in part because they’d heard what a supportive community it is for special-needs children.

Looking at the exhibit is Bonnie […]    

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