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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our story


2012

Hello there,

My name is Darin Frye, I am a husband and a father of three, my wife Kandy, oldest son Dustin ( 21), Daughter Elisia ( 17) and youngest son Damon ( 15).
I was born and raised in Wickliffe Ohio a small town right on Lake Erie. I was adopted when I was 6 months old by my wonderful parents who raised me right and provided a great childhood for my sister and I . Growing up my parents would take us all over the country to camp, ride dirt bikes, fish and go boating. They always had us outdoors and you could say we lived an “outdoors “type of a life growing up. I have had so many great memories as a kid that I could go on forever listing all the great places we visited and all the great things my parents provided for us. We were always doing something outside or in the woods or on the lakes boating.
When I was 19 I met my wife Kandy. We got married pretty fast after we met and she had a son ( Dustin) from a previous marriage . I raised Dustin from the age of 2 and consider him my son. We soon after had Elisia and Damon a couple years later. I am blessed with great kids and a great wife.
When Damon was a baby he did things and had characteristics that were different from our other 2 children, at first we really didn’t think much of it because each child develops differently and has their own characteristics. By the time Damon was 1 he seemed to regress in his speech and other functions and by the time he hit 1 and a half he started to regress to the point that we were concerned so we started to visit different doctors and got many opinions on what may be going on in his life. We soon learned that Damon was Autistic. When Damon was 2 he started early intervention at a local school and program called Broadmore. They really did a great job with Damon and we are very grateful we started him at such an early age. Damon does not have nay speech and is constant supervision, he does not understand reality like a typical child, he does not have any fears or understand that if you run into the street you can get run over by a car or picked up by a stranger etc.
Damon is bright young man now and still has very little speech and still requires around the clock care and constant supervision at all times. 4 years ago we built a custom home to accommodate his special needs and to keep him safe and a happy environment on his terms. We modified many things here to keep his tress levels as low as possible and safety as a priority. Everyday is a challenge for us and him, but we take one day at a time and provide a great life for him.
Damon has always loved the outdoors and anything to do the woods or water and mud!
I myself have been riding dirt bikes and 4-wheelers for over 30 years and when Damon was young he always wanted me to ride him on our 4 wheeler. We used to ride almost everyday for years in our yard and then when we moved to the country it became a serious hobby for him, he is not able to tell us in words how much he enjoys it , but you can see it in his face and actions that it is his world ! About 4 years ago we started traveling around the country and making this hobby a big part of our lives and I am so grateful and proud that I can provide such a great life for him being that he is so limited on the things he can do and the things that he really enjoys, he does not enjoy many activities and does not like technology or to be in doors, he loves to be in the woods ! I will always go to any length to provide him his wants, needs and desires.
Atv’s have become such a big part of our lives that we now travel 8 months out of the year to different places across the country to explore new trails and meet new people. This brings me to my next conversation of ATV Therapy “
Our ATV adventures have become a big part of his therapy in such that he gets so much out of it. Damon has never wanted to be around other people of noise or any kind of chaos at all. He now enjoys being part of our club and being around other people as long as its ATV related, he still will not do birthdays, gatherings, Christmas, etc… but if it involves outdoors, he does. He seems to be so relaxed when we are riding that he comes out of his shell and shows everyone who he really is. Damon is not potty trained or does not use utensils when eating or act what some would consider appropriate in public, but we when we are trip, he is now saying some words , using forks and starting to use the potty. So much has happened in recent years and we all believe is because of two things: the Autism program he is in is such a great program with great teachers and our ATV adventures. Damon will sit and watch videos of riding and others riding as well, he loves to see pictures of our adventures.
Damon has never been affectionate at all to anyone, infact he does not like to be touch or hugged in anyway shape or form, it over stimulates him and will create behaviors . Damon can easily go on overload from this.

I could go on forever of all the stories and memories we have made over the years on our ATV adventures, there are so many break throughs with Damon as a direct result of what we do.
I wanted to start this blog to start sharing our adventures so others can see that this is a therapy and how much Damon enjoys this. I believe many others can enjoy these opportunities as well.
I am so grateful for all how support Damon and his special needs and I am so proud of my son for how far he has come in his life, to some it may not seem like much but to us it is huge !
It would take me years to blog all of our adventures and amazing times we have had, so I will post some highlights here and there. I want t share these times with everyone because I am so proud of my son and so grateful for all the supports we have.
Damon still struggles daily with many things and still does not speak except for sight words here and there but he has come so far in so many areas that we know he is happy and that is all that really matters.

I will continue to post on here and share Damon’s progress and happiness and the great friends we have and will have as the days go on. I thank you for reading our story, this is in a nutshell, but this is the outline of what we do. I have dedicated my life to Damon because I love him and needs it.
Here is an article that was done last October that was published in ATV World Magazine:

ATV World :
My name is Darin Frye. I am a father of three, one of whom is my son Damon. When Damon was 2 years old,  he was diagnosed with severe autism. He is now 14 years old and requires around the clock care. He has always loved to be  in the great outdoors, and I have made sure he has had every opportunity to do so.
I am also an avid ATV fan. I received my first dirt bike back in the 70′s at the age of 5.  I was hooked the first day. I learned quickly, thanks to my father. I grew up in an “outdoors” household and every spring, summer, and fall we were either camping, riding dirt bikes, or boating.  ATVing has been a passion of mine ever since.

 When Damon (we call him DJ) was 3 1/2, I started riding him in front of me on my quad around the yard. He loved it so much that we started riding several times per week in the back yard. This went on for a few years before I started taking him to other places to ride. As he grew, I made special quads to ride him on the back to keep him safe.
It’s 11 years later and  DJ is now 14 years old,  6 feet tall, and 275 pounds. He still loves to ride more than anything in the world.  We  travel the country finding new places to ride. This has become a major part of our family. We put on anywhere from3500-6500 miles per season on the quad. It also provides good therapy for him and helps with his communication barriers.
I have had to make many alterations and modifications on the ATV to support his weight and to keep him safe while riding on the back. We have gone to great lengths to provide him fond memories of his childhood years. He does not speak, but we all know how much he enjoys it.
Lodging preparations must be made ahead of time for these trips. DJ will not tent camp; he does not like small enclosed spaces. We search for a cabin wherever we go then modify it for his safety. Much forethought must go into these trips to ensure his safety and to provide a good time for him.

 ”Pops” is  part of  DJ’s riding life is. He is also a dear friend of ours and both DJ and I have grown very close to him.  We ride with Pops a lot.
Some of our routine places to ride include , Allegany National Forest, Majestic Trails, Mines and Meadows, Southern Ohio, West Virginia, and many more.
We continue to travel the country in hopes of finding new places to ride and keep this wonderful hobby going. So many people along the way have bent over backwards to make sure all goes well with DJ on our road trips.