When Boyz II Men crooner Shawn Stockman (pictured left)performs around the world it seems as if he hasn’t a care in the world — but looks can be deceiving. Revealing his private battles in an exclusive interview with CNN, Stockman reveals that his world came crashing down 9 years ago when his then 2-year-old son Micah (pictured far left) was diagnosed with autism.
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“I don’t think any parent expects their son or daughter to develop a condition that basically changes their life,” laments Stockman. Like many parents of children with autism, Stockman and his wife Sherhonda thought their son was typical until he turned 1-year-old. That’s when everything he had learned seemed to drastically go in reverse.
“After a speech therapist saw him for two days she said I don’t think we’re dealing with a language delay. I think it’s something else. When we finally got the diagnosis I felt like Micah was taken from me,” Sherhonda told CNN as she wept uncontrollably.
Although Stockman says that Micah and twin brother Ty are in a great school where he can receive all of the essentials he needs in order to help him maneuver through his diagnosis, autism is still an inordinately costly situation for many parents. Trying to get children with autism the help that they need in order to cope with various issues, ranging from sensory, speech and behavioral, to food issues and physical weaknesses, is not an easy nor inexpensive feat. In most cases, these children need extensive therapies and many practitioners do not accept insurance — nor can parents afford the high cost of treatment.
Stockman and Sherhonda, who also have a 2-year-old girl, says they’ve learned in the midst of their journey how fortunate they are to have the financial means to support their son. To support other families on the same painful journey, the 39-year-old multi-Grammy Award-winner is launching ‘Micah’s Voice.’ The nonprofit organization’s goal is sponsor one to two families with a child with autism so that they too can receive some of the resources that their child needs without worrying about the costs involved.
“No one would ever think that something like autism could ever happen to their child. All you want for your sons is that they grow up and develop a life of their own, and to know that this may or may not happen for my son is extremely hurtful, says Stockman as he chokes up fighting back tears.