Cindy Wolf, 54, is a single mom raising three special needs kids after her husband passed away because of untreated sleep apnea after they had their third child. Tim, 23, has Asperger’s and bipolar disorder along with several learning disabilities. Christopher, 20, and Rachel, 17, both have microcephaly, a condition in which a baby’s head is significantly smaller than expect due to abnormal brain development. Cindy wants her children to be as independent as possible and works with them daily to create a routine and independent habits. Cindy graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in health administration and a master’s degree in special education. Cindy uses her knowledge of special education and the health administration to help other parents understand different aspects of the special needs community in State College, Pa. Cindy has used her managing and organizational skills in the special needs community to help start a hockey team and a community kitchen and garden in the State College.
Cindy watches a student made film about her son Chris and his active lifestyle with LifeLink PSU. LifeLink PSU serves as a transition from high school beyond college through academic programs and engagement with Penn State students and State College Area School District learning support staff.
From left, Tim, Rachel, Cindy and Chris pose for a family photo sitting on the fireplace mantle in their State College home. Cindy's husband passed away from untreated sleep apnea after Rachael, their youngest child was born.
Cindy and Chris talk as they wait for Rachel to get ready for the Mazza Community Garden workday on South Atherton Street in State College, Pa.
Dr. William Trescher, left, asks Rachel questions about her health during a routine physical at the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Windmere Centre in State College, Pa. Rachel still visits her pediatrician, who travels from Hershey Medical center multiple times a year to see local patients.
Dr. William Trescher checks Rachel's eye during a routine physical at the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Windmere Centre in State College, Pa.
Dr. William Trescher checks Rachel's blood pressure during a routine physical at the Penn State Hershey Medical Group Windmere Centre in State College, Pa.
Cindy sets an alarm for Rachel and Chris so they know when they must leave for school. Cindy leaves for work a half-hour before her children meaning they must leave for school on their own.
Cindy places a box pack of tissues, medication, and glasses for Chris every morning before she leaves for work. Cindy has developed routines for her children to help them become more independent.
Chris walks to his LifeLink PSU bus stop at the State College Area Middle School just one-block from his home. Cindy and Chris's aids have been working for two years to help him learn how to safely walk to his bus stop.
Cindy straps on Rachel's hockey helmet in Pegula Ice Arena before their second to last practice. While living in Virginia, Tim's favorite activity was ice hockey and after moving to State College, Cindy started a hockey league for special needs children and young adults in the area.
Starting as a computer lab manager for the State College Area School District in 2006, Cindy now works in the computer depot overseeing Google Chromebook use by students. Cindy stopped teaching in the classroom after she moved from Virginia to have a more flexible schedule in case an emergency with her children arises.
Cindy looks through a box of gluten free groceries inside her home in State College, Pa. Both Tim and Rachel have multiple food allergies and with a busy schedule Cindy orders groceries online through Amazon Pantry and other websites.
Cindy talks about Taproot Kitchen clothing orders during a board meeting at The Meeting House on South Atherton Street in State College, Pa. Taproot Kitchen is a community of individuals with disabilities, their families and friends who share a kitchen, garden, and meeting space to learn about food processing.
Cindy talks with community members during a lunch break along with Chris at the Mazza Community Garden workday on South Atherton Street in State College, Pa. The Garden features community garden plots, wheelchair accessible garden plots, chickens and garden beds just one block from Taproot Kitchen