WPFP1: The Sky's the Limit: Upending Beliefs About "Dis"abilities with Deborah Lagasse


In This Episode

In this first episode of Wild Peace, Deborah Lagasse shares insights into her extraordinary journey raising a son who has managed to shatter all conventional expectations about his autism. Her story will upend any limiting beliefs you might have about autism - or any other "dis"ability for that matter.

Deb's son Tyler Lagasse began reading and writing at the age of two, but he was slower to talk and learn social skills. By the age of four he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a form of autism. Today at 31, Tyler has won 3 silver medals in golf - the elite division - at the Special Olympics USA games. He also holds 12 gold medals from Special Olympics Massachusetts and is a member of the organization's Hall of Fame. In 2007, he became a Special Olympics Global Messenger. Beyond sports he has accomplished as much. He co-authored a book with his mother, What Do You Say?: Autism with Character, engages in motivational speaking, and is working towards a bachelor's degree in earth, environmental and atmospheric sciences at UMass Lowell. Tyler's story of courage, heart and perseverance is truly amazing. 

During this fascinating conversation, Deb and I discuss what it was like to raise Tyler. She explains how she approached the challenges and how she (and the whole family) were enlightened as a result. I walked away thinking she should be a motivational speaker, too!

About Deborah

Deborah Lagasse is a teacher at Greater Lowell Technical High School and holds a master’s of education in occupational education. She is married to Ronald Lagasse and they are the proud parents of Tyler and his older brother Clint. Deborah has advised many parents about their special education choices. She has volunteered on several special education-related advisory boards and testified before the Massachusetts Board of Education regarding special education laws and regulations.

What You’ll Learn

  • The key method Deb used to become an effective advocate

  • How raising Tyler transformed Deb and her family

  • How to stay connected with family and friends, even if they don’t seem to ‘get it’

  • What Deb learned when she and Tyler wrote their book together

  • How she learned to let Tyler to follow his strengths and chart his own course

  • Deb’s top advice for parents at the beginning (or any time) of the journey

  • Three questions to ask when the world seems out of control


Resources Mentioned

Kendra Wilde