Today, I want to celebrate a milestone in my journey. It has been more than 9 years of hard work and determination, but I can finally say, that we have overcome most of our major challenges.
If you have been following my blog, you know a bit about my journey as an entrepreneur. After college, I went looking for a job and when no one would hire me, I decided to start my own business. And I failed at it.
Then, in 2011, I got some depressing news. My son was diagnosed with autism. His speech was not developing and he had no social skills. I found myself being a single mom, raising a son with autism and a wannabe entrepreneur.
For the first time in my life, I started to think that I would have to give up on my dreams of owning a successful business. I needed something more secure for me and my son.
Not only did my dreams of owning a successful business seem to be over, but having a healthy family life seem to an impossible feat as well. My son could not verbalize his needs and his frustrations manifested in the wildest tantrums. I could not take him anywhere. It was depressing, I felt isolated and cut off from society.
People had mean things to say and the harsh criticisms did not make the burden any less. I felt like I was drowning in a “sea” of impossible. It looked hopeless.
But one day, I asked God to show me where to apply my faith. I needed a solution to my problem and I knew that I would have to take action. I was a college graduate, and a single mom raising a son with autism. Getting a job would have given us some degree of financial “security”, but where would I leave my son if I should go to work? WHO would look after him? Would they be able to cope?
Then one afternoon, I was noticing my son’s speech pattern as he was trying to tell me something. He would open and close his mouth, while making sounds, but he was not moving his lips to form his words.
That’s when the idea came to me, to use the camera on my cellphone to record my mouth while saying his name and other words he would use at his age. I would let him sit and watch the video for hours. He would not only mimic the sounds, but he would mimic the movement of my lips as well. It took some time, but he began to say the words very clearly.
We were making progress. It was good, I felt great… my son felt even better. We could start showing our face again. This was awesome. But as time progressed, I noticed that my son was outgrowing the little videos I made on the cellphone. He needed more, he needed to understand the variation in sentence structure.
This was when the idea came to me to develop computer games that would ask him specific questions and he would be able to select his response. I thought it was genius. I had one small problem though… I didn’t know anything about building computer games. In fact, I have a degree in Math and Physics and I have never taken any formal computer lessons in my life.
I decided to make good on my bright idea. I headed over to YouTube for some lessons in game development and 4 weeks later, I created my first game using Adobe Flash Professional. Not only did the games work, but I was also able to create several businesses selling educational games and mobile apps. I also won several awards for my tech start-ups. You can learn more from my about page.
Success Comes in Pairs
So, I guess you are wondering how my son is doing, right? He is doing exceptional. And now that we are this far along in our journey, I can safely say, that the key to my success was always hinged on finding a solution to help my son overcome his challenges with autism. My success, is his success.
He can now face the world with confidence, because he can express himself. Today, my son Jayden Simpson is 12 years old, with autism and he is an animator. Check out this video of him creating marketing videos for his first animation development course.
New Hope… New Life
Overcoming this challenge with my son, prepared me with the gifts to embark on a new path in my life. With my new skills, I have received many awards for many of my startups. The success keeps growing. Looking back, there is no way I could have done all of this if I was not faced with this challenge.
Within the first year of creating my first startup, G.A.M.E. Prep, I received an award from the Government of Belize and a grant from the Taiwanese government to further develop the games.
Some Final Thoughts…
Today, I would like to offer you some encouragement. Despite all the challenges you are faced with in life, there is one thing that you should always remember: never give up. It is sometimes easy to just throw in the towel when life starts throwing hooks and uppercuts. But when you do give up, what will become of you?
Are you ready to live a life of misery, to wallow in despair for the rest of your years? Will you not be sorry and regretful, spending your life thinking about what could have been if only you kept going?
Remember, the ability to achieve anything in life requires you to go through challenges and changes that will help you grow into something better.
Thanks for reading. If you are up to it, please share with me some of the challenges you were able to overcome in your journey.