How a Service Dog for My Son With Autism Impacted My Career

 service-dog-750x750By Skyler Phillips

Some people dream of doing great things in their life, that was never me, but I believe sometimes God has plans for our lives we never see coming. As a veteran firefighter, I thought I was doing enough to serve my community, until one day all that changed. In 2010 my wife found out that she was pregnant. While it was not planned, it was probably the single happiest moment of my life up to that point. Then I found out she was going to have a boy — wow, I was really in heaven now. I remember lying in bed thinking about all of the things we were going to do together: little league baseball, riding bicycles in the park, all of the things Dads and little boys do. Until, when my son was 3 years old, we learned about a 6 letter word that forever changed the direction of our lives: autism.

LifeLine Loses Friend & Board Member Randy Payne

The last line of LifeLine’s charter summarizes the Randy & Rachelpurpose of all of the preceding lines: “To share the love of Jesus Christ and the Biblical concept of the value of all human life with everyone who makes contact with this organization in word and deed.” I don’t know many people whose life epitomized that last line more than Randy Payne.

Because of a wheelchair and Craigslist several years ago, he and Rachel Payne became volunteers, and then friends and then LifeLine board members. The last time I saw him, just a few days ago, he was

UI Reach Program

“ThUI Reache University of Iowa REACH Program is a two-year, transition certificate program for students with multiple intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities. UI REACH provides a campus experience to empower young adults to become independent, engaged members of the community. Courses, campus life, and career preparation assist students in reaching their full potential. UI REACH strives to maintain periodic contact with alumni to encourage them to become independent adults by utilizing the independent living and career-related skills they learned in the program.

Key Features of UI REACH (more…)


LifeLine Launches First Responder Training

LifeLine™ Launches SNAP First Responder Training
SNAP  – Special Needs Awareness Program

Chattanooga, Tennessee: LifeLine™ launched its new Special Needs Awareness Program (“SNAP”) on Monday, January 9, 2017, with the first of a planned multi week training for the Chattanooga Fire Department.  For several years training and information on specific diagnoses or disability groups has been available to first responders, but this is the first time first responders will be trained with general disability information covering a multitude of different diagnoses, scenarios, and circumstances.

For co-authors Lisa Mattheiss and Skyler Phillips, this is a personal mission.  (more…)


Welcome Intern Kate Moreau!

Kate Moreau croppedMy name is Kate Moreau and I am a junior at Covenant College, where I am studying elementary education. I am originally from Wheaton, Illinois but have lived in the Chattanooga area since I started at Covenant a few years ago.
I came to Covenant with the intention of becoming a public elementary school teacher, but that all changed last summer. On a bit of a whim (I knew a little bit about special education from a class at Covenant, but that was really it), I applied for an internship at Jill’s House, a Christian respite center for kids with exceptionalities near Washington, DC. After spending just about two months with the kids and getting to dip my toes in the world of special needs, I realized (more…)

Facilitating Emotional Regulation Supplemental Resources

On Thursday evening, January 27, 2017, LifeLine families came together at our northwest Georgia FamilyShare support group and discussed ways to facilitate our children’s emotional regulation at home and at school. Lisa Mattheiss shared ideas and resources that she and Michal Jones had collected in their years of working with families in Chattanooga and northwest Georgia.  You can find the notes for that presentation here.  After a break, the group reconvened.  Families began to share various challenges and solutions, outlining resources, strategies, and websites that had worked for them in various emotionally challenging situations.  They also offered their own observations based on personal circumstances.

Here is a list of many of the ideas and suggestions that were provided by our families:   (more…)


Lessons from A Different Path

Crystal Horner, Chattanooga, TN

On January 2nd, 2008 I woke up in a hospital room with a small view of the rising sun. I had been up earlier that night giving birth to my first child. Hudson James Horner was born a bit abruptly as I had gotten an upper respiratory infection and had been sick for several days. That morning I felt time slow down enough for me to enjoy the momentous reality that every new mother wants to remember.

I knew I had been sick and I knew it was hard to breathe; I also knew my newborn was whisked away to the NICU because he was born premature. I only got to give him a small kiss before he left. (more…)


Alternative Options Resource List

Many of us are in the same boat.  We are raising children with special needs.  The problem is, they didn’t come with a manual and there are things that happen with them that we can’t explain, medicine can’t explain, and mainstream medicine can’t always cure.  Our purpose at our last FamilyShare support group meeting of 2016 was to share some potential solutions and possible alternative product options. (more…)