Meet Maria and her son, Sasha Boltenko. 

When I found out that I was pregnant with my second child,I was so happy,and was hoping that it would be a boy. Sasha came to this world on August 31,2006. He was four weeks earlier than he was expected to arrive. We were so happy to meet our little boy. 

During pregnancy I didn’t have any complications or history of a complicated pregnancy. When he was born, we got the news about the possibility of having a child with Down Syndrome. It was the longest two weeks while we were waiting for the test results. When the results came back, I was in denial, I didn’t want to believe that there was something different about my beautiful child. He was such a good and beautiful baby. 

With time, I had to admit that he is not like everyone else, and our endless trips to the doctors began. When he was two, he started attending the Meyer Center, the staff members were the biggest support system over the years. He learned so much at the Meyer Center and I am grateful to have such a wonderful support system right here in Greenville. 

At the age of 4, exactly on my birthday December 12, when we were at the doctor’s office with his usual ear infection, he started walking. It was a real gift from God. When he was younger we spent so much time at therapies, basically endless therapies. I thought we would be at a doctor’s office, or therapists offices for the rest of our lives, but when Sasha got older his immune system improved, we went to less and less doctor’s appointments. 

When Sasha turned 8, he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum.  I thought, it’s just perfect. I am Doubly blessed. At least we knew that we needed to take a different approach to therapy. And just like that, ABA therapy was added to our list of appointments and tasks.

We would like to say thanks to our support at Grace church. It’s such a blessing to have this church and we love knowing that our child is accepted just the way that he is. Finally we felt like we found an amazing fit for our son. He also started attending the Washington Center last year, and we all can see a huge change in him. He absolutely loves his school. Every morning he is running into the building because he is so excited to be there. 

Today, Sasha is a 16 years old boy. He is an amazing brother to his older sister, Emily and his younger brother, Andrew. Sasha came into this world to teach. He is teaching us to be better people every day by teaching us patience and to value what is most important. He is also teaching all of us to be happy. He is such a joy, and we are so lucky to be his family. 

Furthermore, because of our son the “Life with A Special Needs Child in South Carolina” was born to serve Slavic Families with special needs children. Through pain, joy, happiness, and tears and all the in between that we have experienced, I am able to help others.  And lastly but most importantly, I can proudly say that because of our child, we are starting at the Cornerstone Community Baptist Church, the very first Slavic church ministry for special needs in the Upstate. I am so blessed to be his Mamma. He is an amazing soul.