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Tyler and Rachel—A CLE Couple Six Years Strong

While CLE is certainly not in the business of matchmaking, our program creates and fosters a community for our students that is unlike any other. Many powerful and long-lasting connections can develop from peer groups, to best friends, and yes, sometimes even romantic relationships develop. In this article Dr. Galen Chun follows up with a couple that met at CLE, and whose relationship continues strong, long after the program.

Hello Tyler and Rachel! I am so happy I reached you both by phone. I am writing an article about long-term romantic relationships.

How long have you been together?

Tyler: About 6 years and 7 months now.

Rachel: Our 7 year anniversary is in January of this year. We have been living in an apartment together on our own for about two years.

CLE Couple

How did you first meet?

Tyler: We met in Fort Lauderdale Florida at CLE. We were doing a bus training to learn how to take public transportation. Rachel sat by me and I was shy like the cowardly lion trying to talk to the scarecrow [Wizard of Oz Reference]. I was so scared to talk to her.

Rachel: He got over it though. We started talking about Pokémon. It was something we both love.

Tyler: Yeah, ‘gotta catch ‘em all!’ Pokémon brings people together!

Rachel: [Laughs] It sure does! Unlike other videogames it does not cause conflict.

Well, you caught each other and it is wonderful to hear you both happy. What advice would you give people about finding a romantic relationship?

CLE Couple

Tyler: You have to find someone with common ground that you can enjoy together. We both love videogames. It is a big part of what we do together.

Rachel: If it is your first time dating, do not rush or get too caught up if it doesn’t work out. Strong relationships develop over time.

What makes your relationship work?

Tyler: Teamwork, lots of teamwork.

Rachel: Being able to compromise by understanding feelings and mood. If I am in a bad mood it can affect Tyler; I have to consider how my feelings may impact him.

How do you handle conflict?

Rachel: We talk about it like adults and work it out.

Tyler: We have learned how to compromise.

How do you balance work and play?

Tyler: Rachel organizes what we need to do so we will take turns cleaning dishes, vacuuming and cooking.

Rachel: We get the not so fun stuff out of the way first then have fun. We tried before to have fun first but quickly lost focus.

CLE Couple - balancing work and play

Do you hang out with other couples or friends?

Rachel: We have not met very many people our age in our area. We typically hang out with family.

What are your career goals?

Tyler: I started Chesapeake College in August and I am taking Introduction to Computers and Freshman Seminar. I am not sure yet what my major will be.

Rachel: I finished my Veterinarian Assistant program and I am looking for job. I am hoping to get employment working for a therapeutic program that uses riding horses to help people.

What was your most fun date?

Tyler: We’ve had too many.

Rachel: I can talk about the most recent one. We went to New York City for a birthday party. We loved seeing the city.

Tyler: We enjoyed going to the Nintendo store. My favorite moment was when we got a picture with a life-sized Donkey Kong statue.

Rachel: It was so much fun! We have such a good time just being together.

Thank you for sharing your story!

Newsletter Articles – November 2016

Mother of a son with autism

Nobody wants to hear the word “disability” associated with their child, especially a young mother like myself at the time my son was diagnosed with Autism. My husband and I were well-educated, hard working, and just a normal, everyday couple. It’s only natural to give birth to children who are just like you, right? I did everything I was told to do during pregnancy. I read all the popular baby books, I ate a healthy diet, I exercised. My beautiful son was born and I was totally smitten. I couldn’t get enough of him. He was so beautiful that people used to tell me he needed to be in magazines.

The r-word

Retard. There, I said it. Now let’s spread the word to end the word. Why, you may ask? This word is hurtful and disrespectful to many and promotes exclusivity. So how do we do this? Let’s look at a simple three-step process.

Drew and his mom Deborah

For most of my son’s life he’s been misunderstood, bullied, afraid, excluded or summarily dismissed. No wonder I was never far away with a needed explanation, interpretation, apology, you name it.

But on Sunday, August 9, 2015 that job of mine ended. I was replaced in that capacity by much more capable hands at College Living Experience—although, of course, no one is replacing me as my son’s mom. Whew.

To get some perspective on where we’ve been, let’s take a look at a few of my diary entries from last year.

Neurodiversity - the idea that variations in cognition are natural, and an example of human diversity

When I first learned the word neurodiversity, in a disability studies class, it transformed the way I saw the world. Neurodiversity is the idea that variations in cognition are natural, and an example of human diversity. The neurodiversity movement calls on all of us to participate in making our society more accessible to people with all sorts of brains – people with Autism, learning disabilities, ADHD, Tourette’s, psychiatric disabilities, and so on. It also calls for foregrounding the experiences, perspectives and leadership of neurodiverse people in organizations dedicated to disability rights.

The post Tyler and Rachel—A CLE Couple Six Years Strong appeared first on College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future.

This has been a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.