I am a special needs Detroit Mom, Amanda Nihem, who enjoys being outside, yoga, spending time with my family, and any time of physical exercise. During nap time, I work part-time for a local Detroit nonprofit as a Program Manager.
I am passionate about helping others and ensuring youth have the support they need to meet their full potential. You can find me outside with my family, on playdates, working out on my peloton, or reading. I love a good rom-com story and a hot, hot coffee!
I am always the best version of myself after a cup of coffee and some kind of physical activity. Before I start my day, I center myself with morning yoga or a meditation. Sometimes schedules and sickness do not align, but I make sure to take a 10-15 minute break. I also thrive on a regular schedule and routine. I love to make checklists, goals, and future plans to hold myself accountable.
In October 2023 I am signed up for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, and I already have a 12 week-long planned schedule in my calendar. Having the projected goal will give me energy and encouragement to allow myself time and space to grow as a runner, and hopefully the best version of myself.
I am the mom to Oliver, who just turned three years old! Oliver not only made me a mom, but I am a special needs mom. Oliver has Kabuki Syndrome. Kabuki Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder (only 1 in 35,000) and comes with a range of different needs. Oliver’s needs include prematurity, cardiology, craniofacial, global delays, and gut health. Oliver is so much more than his disability. His smile lights up a room and he has a sassy way of telling you no when he doesn’t want something. Oliver just started walking a month ago and uses American Sign Language to communicate.
I was born and raised in Kalamazoo. My husband, Cody, and I met at Central Michigan University and we have lived in Royal Oak for five years now. We love our community and can be found at Drifter Coffee on a Saturday morning or at the Birmingham YMCA. I have a wonderful group of mom friends and kids who do activities together including Born Yoga Toddler Classes, Music Together with Ms. Merrily, Nature’s Playhouse, or a local park.
I am most excited to bring a real side of what it is like to be a special needs mom. Oliver developmentally and physically is closer to an 18-month-old. His friends are all around two due to Oliver matching them in skills. Sometimes I struggle with the bigger picture and looking too far forward. It is important for me to have a day-by-day mindset; this helps me get through the struggles of being a special needs mom.
My goal is to connect with other moms who may struggle with the overloaded schedules of endless appointments, the fear of the future, and just the daily struggles of a special needs family and to know they are not alone. I also want to share ways my friends and family support us so that others can be advocates to those who may have friends with special needs.