by Natalie Vecchione of firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting to know me
My name is Natalie Vecchione. My husband and I met at ECU almost 30 years ago. After living in various states along the East Coast. Our family settled down in North Carolina for over 4 years and we currently reside in rural Johnston County, North Carolina. We have a little hobby farm under 4 acres & we are converting one of our detached workshops into a tiny house for our son in the next year or so he may have interdependence.
The Journey doesn’t end when Homeschool Ends
The journey doesn’t end when homeschool ends, it just begins with a new chapter. We were blessed that the Lord built our family through domestic adoption. We’ve been a homeschool family for 7 years. Our daughter is 5 1/2 years old and has Childhood Absence Epilepsy. We began homeschooling our daughter last fall. Our 18-year-old son has a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) / Bipolar Disorder and other diagnoses. He finished his homeschool journey in May 2020, he is working part time as a carpentry apprentice and he is also studying computer coding online (part time).
Accommodation for our Son
Although our son had many, comorbid diagnoses, he did not receive his “official” diagnosis of having a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) until he was almost 15 years old. We began homeschooling 7 years ago, while we were living in NY, as an ACCOMMODATION for our son’s multiple physical, developmental and learning needs (which we later learned that he had a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
What our Son Could Do
We were weary and tired of hearing everything that our son couldn’t do and we wanted to start focusing on what he COULD do. Our homeschooling adventure has been a challenging but an exciting one and both of our children (who are 13 years apart in age….God’s Orchestration!) have homeschooling paths are unique and strength based.
We always knew that our son loved to work with his hands and that he was very creative. When he was younger, he enjoyed “hands-on” science experiments, art projects and building things. He also enjoyed outdoor activities, exploring nature and physical activities like skateboarding, scootering and lifting weights. We quickly embraced that our son was a KINESTHETIC learner. Throughout his homeschool journey, I learned how to accommodate in ways that would help strengthen his ability to learn and retain information. For example, we practiced and recited spelling words while he would ride his scooter or work on math facts while bouncing on the trampoline.
Working in His Giftings
When he was 16, our son participated in a two-week carpentry camp (for teens with special needs), where he learned his gift of carpentry and woodworking. After many phone calls and emails, I was blessed to find TWO amazing carpenters who saw the blessings that our son had to offer and they took our son on as their apprentice. His last two years of homeschool were the best….in addition to completing his required subjects, he spent many hours in the wood shop (and “in the field”) learning his trade in the best way possible….hands on. Our family also enjoyed the fruits of our son’s labor (cutting boards, bowls, custom designed woodwork, keepsake boxes and even a custom-made desk for our home office)! Most importantly, we were blessed to be able to help our son grow in the gifts in which the Lord blessed him.
*Please reach out to me at email@example.com or visit fasdhope.com for more information or resources about FASD. You can also find our podcast “FASD Hope” where you find your podcasts.
Natalie Vecchione is an FASD parent advocate, homeschooler, podcaster, but MOST importantly… a wife and mom!
Natalie and her husband, John, adopted both our son and daughter via domestic adoption. They began homeschooling 7 years ago, when they noticed how many accommodations their son needed (who was later diagnosed with an FASD). Their son finally received an FASD diagnosis when he was 15, when he was also hospitalized for Bipolar Disorder…and it was one of the darkest times of her life as a mom.
In those dark times, the Lord used her brokenness and filled her with the Holy Spirit to use her journey to become a parent advocate and help other families not to feel as alone as she had on her journey. Natalie began advocating for FASD by being a peer support mentor, co-facilitating a parent support group and she was selected to participate in the 2019 North Carolina Exceptional Parent Leadership Conference. She certified in Mental Health First Aid and she has also been a Board- Certified, Music Therapist for 25 years. Recently, Natalie volunteered as a board member and social media coordinator for several North Carolina nonprofits. In April 2020, Natalie began her new adventure in the world of podcasting through producing and hosting podcasts about FASD…. and she became a “Mom on a Mission with a Microphone”. In October 2020, Natalie and her husband co-founded their own podcast, website and ministry – “FASD Hope”. The mission of FASD Hope is to provide awareness, information and inspiration to people whose lives have been touched by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Natalie & her family lives in the farm country of North Carolina (US) with their 6 year-old daughter (who began homeschooling last year) and almost 19 year-old son (who graduated from homeschooling and he is now proudly working part time as a carpentry apprentice and studying online in computer coding / part time). Natalie is thrilled to begin this new adventure of FASD Hope and the “FASD Hope” podcast series and share awareness, information and inspiration about FASD and serving the Lord through their mission / ministry.
Instagram – @fasdhopeFacebook – @fasdhope1Pinterest- @fasdhope1Clubhouse – @natalievecc
You can listen to my interview with Natalie below. Make sure you join us next week when she shares about FASD!