Elizabeth Aquino and Jason Lehmbeck are the creators and hosts of the Who Lives Like This?! podcast and blog. Another caregiver of a special needs child who lived across the country connected them with one another, and they found out that they not only both live in Los Angeles but within miles of one another! In today's podcast, Jason and Elizabeth interview one another in much the way they will be interviewing the other caregivers, touching on their individual passions and motivations, their children and, of course, their lives as caregivers.
The conversation begins.
Elizabeth is a writer living with her three children in a too-small bungalow in the middle of Los Angeles. She has been a full-time caregiver for her daughter Sophie for over 23 years. Sophie has a severe seizure disorder and consequent profound developmental disabilities. She is non-verbal and needs assistance with all life activities, but she has a preternatural peace about her, loves music and being outside in southern California. Elizabeth also has two sons, aged nineteen and seventeen. She works as a free-lance writer, a healthcare advocate and a baker (Everyone Needs Cake!™) and is passionate about anything related to cannabis medicine. She also nurtures and is nurtured by an amazing community on her blog, a moon worn as if it had been a shell.
Jason is the CEO and co-founder of a technology company helping parents of special needs children navigate the worlds of health, education and wellness. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Leah and their three boys. Jason has been living the caregiver life ever since his first son, Noah, was born in 2008 with a rare genetic condition called FOXG1. Noah is non verbal, non mobile and has cognitive impairment. Noah also has a smile and a giggle that will melt your heart. Jason and Leah have two other boys who are called “typical,” but Lehmbeck household is far from typical.
Lightning Round for Elizabeth
Purchase < $100:
1. Caregiving -- any extra money that I have I put toward caregiving 2. Adult Bibs -- my daughter is 23, so I don't want her to have to wear something meant for a baby or child. Etsy has lots and lots of great adult-sized and designed bibs.
Changed by a Child: Companion Notes for Parents of Children with a Disability by Barbara Gill
Most Inspirational Person or Group:
Jean Vanier, the founder of the L'Arche communities and Dr. Viola Frymann, D.O.
Lighting Round for Jason
Purchase < $100
The soundtrack to the Movie Frozen because Noah loves music ... in particular most female pop songs though "Let It Go" is his all time favorite. Also, the LectroFan White Noise machine which is the only way I can get some sleep
Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon
Inspirational Person or Group
I have had many sources of inspiration throughout my caregiver journey including my wife, my family and my friends but there is one person in particular that I want to highlight. Noah's first caregiver, Yliud Hernandez, was a miracle for our family and for Noah. She not only helped us take care of our little man but she helped me and my wife through the first several years of Noah's life.
If you liked this conversation, subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.