Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

September 15, 2013

Perseverance pays with artistic endeavor

Mother never gave up on son who had stroke when he was 1 week old

WORTHINGTON — The doctors told Carolyn Tingler her son Joseph would never walk, or play, or enjoy any quality of life. But fortunately, mothers seldom listen to what many would consider at least situational “reason.”

Tingler’s story began when her son, who was born prematurely, suffered a stroke at one week of age. He was taken to University of Kentucky Hospital and stayed there nearly two months.

“When I left there,” Tingler said, “they told me ‘don’t expect him to walk, talk, and if he would happen to walk, then he will never run.’ Everything that they told me was doom and gloom. And then they said to take him home and treat him ‘normal.’

“It was such a contradiction. But the part I took from that was to take him home and treat him normal.”

Tingler said the doctors told her the communication center of Joseph’s brain had been wiped out by the stroke. But she had read that when one part or side of a brain area was damaged that the other side would take over. She worked with her son, and Joseph did walk at the age of 3, and began to talk at 7.

Joseph’s path has not been easy, Carolyn Tingler said.

“School was horrible. It was a fight to get anything for him,” she said. She mentions it required the efforts of an attorney to get her son entered into Head Start.  And there have been other problems for Joseph as well, including the loss of most of the use of one arm and the need for a brace on one foot that did not develop as well as the other. The Shriners Hospital helped Joseph with the foot brace, and Tingler says her son went there over a 10-year period. Now he sees another doctor for the same issue, and the care is ongoing.

The progress Joseph has made is nothing short of phenomenal.

“We came from being in a neonatal unit where they were telling me not to expect to go home with him, and I can remember thinking that they were crazy. It never one time entered my mind that anything could happen to keep me from taking him home.”

Carolyn Tingler’s determination paid off for her and for Joseph. In spite of the harsh and limited prognosis of his early doctors and all of the difficulties the two have faced, Joseph has progressed far beyond what had been expected by anyone except his mother. Like all of us he still faces problems; and though his might be different than those others face, he meets them to the best of his abilities.

Carolyn Tingler said her son was always interested in painting from an early age. Perhaps it was Joseph’s adversity that led him to art, because passion in all its many forms has been given as an inspiration for artists around the globe. The pursuit of and the release found in painting has called to many, and success is never assured. But though success may have proven elusive to some, Joseph is finding it. Recently he had a showing of his artwork during a recent First Friday at The Lamp Post restaurant — and nearly all of his paintings sold.

The support Joseph has received from his mother and others over the years is a necessary part of growth. Ryan Cassell, executive director of A Brighter Future in Ashland, an organization that provides services for individuals with intellectual or physical disabilities, says personal growth is essential, and that Joseph is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the “three rules” are followed.

“First you have to establish a connection,” Cassell said. “Connect with the individual and communicate. Then that individual must be able to have life experiences, to enjoy the things that we all want and desire. And, lastly, the individual needs to learn self-efficiency, to develop the means to do things for themselves.”

Joseph Tingler is a success story. He has developed a skill he enjoys and is able to share it with others, and has found friends who appreciate him and speak well of him. He is described by those who know him best as helpful, caring and friendly; and he returns those sentiments completely, looking forward to seeing everyone at the group home where he lives and at A Brighter Future.

“He really paints for everyone,” Carolyn Tingler said of her son. “He wants to make people happy, and he loves it when people enjoy his paintings. Sometimes I try to tell him he should do something one way, but he says no,” she says with a smile of pride. “He paints his own way, even mixes his own colors if he doesn’t have a color he wants, and they always come out beautiful.”

Carolyn Tingler’s assessments of her son’s skills are fairly accurate, even if understandably biased by a mother’s pride. Joseph sold nearly all of the paintings he showed at the Lamp Post,but he is working on more for the next show.

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