Down syndrome doesn't stop this young man

Special needs children can accomplish a lot, especially when supported and encouraged. Tim Harris is a living example of that.

Down syndrome doesn't stop this young man

Special needs children can accomplish a lot, especially when supported and encouraged. Tim Harris is a living example of that.
  • When was the last time you let "I can't" rule your dreams? We often let perceived limitations stop us from accomplishing our goals and dreams. But, what about people with special needs, who have legitimate physical or mental limitations, that accomplish so much more than expected?

  • One amazing man did just that. Tim Harris, owner of Tim's Place in Albuquerque, NM, has overcome obstacles to achieve amazing results. While serving "breakfast, lunch and hugs" daily, Harris also happens to have Down syndrome. At 14-years-old, he told his parents he was going to own a restaurant someday. And now he does.

  • One of the keys to his success was having supportive parents who encouraged and supported him along the way despite his special needs. Though they were initially shocked and taken aback, ultimately, they helped him achieve his goal.

  • For parents of special needs children, there is a fear accompanied when their child want to try a new activity or learn a new skill because no one likes to see their child disappointed. Though the goal may seem out of reach to you, here are some ways to help your child succeed.

  • Rules for success

  • Karen Osborn wrote an article in PsychCentral that suggests some guidelines to help your special needs child succeed.

    • Start new activities informally and see how it goes.

    • Next, "look for a teacher who is relaxed and demonstrates some knowledge of, or interest in, working with a child who has a disability," Osborn says.

    • Make sure the activity is fun and that your child is reminded of the pure joy of the activity, rather than forcing or doing something that is no longer enjoyable.

  • Ways to encourage

  • "How to Encourage" offers some ideas to encourage a child with special needs, as well as their parents.

    • Sometimes just being there is enough. Words are often inadequate, but to be present and share tears is often the strength a special needs child or parent needs.

    • "Teach your child to view hurt and difficulties as stepping stones-not landing places," the article states. Just as with any other child, we should teach them that success comes after difficult trials. There's not much in life that comes with ease, but usually after a lot of hard work and trial and error.

    • Be honest. Unless a parent has been through the same struggle, they cannot know how it feels. says to ask your child how it feels or what they are feeling or thinking to try to understand and offer more encouragement.

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  • Watching Harris's story is inspiring. Realizing that we often have much more capabilities than we believe is incredible. Not only has he been able to reach his dream, but he spreads lots of love and happiness to those who enter his restaurant. Hugs, smiles, positive words and even saying "I love you" to individuals is powerful to observe.

  • Despite possible limitations of special needs children, it is possible for them to achieve goals. Parents and friends can encourage children who have special needs to reach their dreams and accomplish their goals. The human spirit is limitless and perseverance is powerful. It may be difficult, but the results are often amazing and inspiring.

Wendy is a regular contributor for and does media reviews. Website: for victims of sexual abuse. Blog: Twitter: @WendyJessen


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