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鈥淗e will teach you more than you will ever teach him"

"Every day is a gift, one of joys, surprises, some ups and downs. Embrace the journey." -David and Andrew Olshine

鈥淗e will teach you more than you will ever teach him"

鈥淗e will teach you more than you will ever teach him"

"Every day is a gift, one of joys, surprises, some ups and downs. Embrace the journey." -David and Andrew Olshine

May 1, 2024

By Dr. David Olshine, Director and Professor of Youth Ministry, Family & Culture

Do you remember the start of the new century, 2000? I certainly do.

On the morning of New Year鈥檚 Eve 1999, my wife came busting into the gym where I was on the treadmill, trying to get a head start on trimming down for the new year. Rhonda whispered into my ear, 鈥淚鈥檓 pregnant.鈥 For most people, that is welcome news. For us, it was almost a blur and stunning turn of events. Our only child, Rachel was a teenager, and we had come to believe that we would have an only child. We had been praying on and off (more on) for 15 years for another child.

Rachel was an awesome kid! She was full of energy, extraverted, athletic and pretty driven to do well in school.

One night, Rhonda had this inner impression asking her, 鈥渄o you want another child?鈥 She said yes. (Note: We have had many laughs since that day about why I was not involved in this conversation with her and God!)

Aug. 9 arrived, and we had a newborn son. We named him Andrew David Olshine. Andrew means 鈥樷檚trong one鈥欌 and David means 鈥渂eloved.鈥 Everything looked great until the presiding doctor came in 10 hours later and said Andrew might have Down syndrome, and we were stunned.

Once the hospital did a blood test, it was confirmed two weeks later Andrew indeed had Down syndrome (DS), which is a cognitive intellectual disability. After crying for about 40 days, we sensed the Lord saying 鈥渓ove him, that鈥檚 all you have to do and he will teach you more than you鈥檒l ever teach him,鈥 and that鈥檚 been so true.

Fast forward from that turbulent year, Andrew is now 23 years old, and it has been a great journey but not without its issues and problems. Andrew is highly functioning, and a graduate of 听Springhill High School in Chapin. He reads at a 10th grade level, swam for five years on the Irmo High School swim team and has been involved in Special Olympics paddle boarding, swimming and tennis (1).

In the summer of 2022, Andrew got GBS (Guillain-Barr茅 Syndrome) which is an attack on the nerves. It has nothing to do with Down syndrome. Although very rare, anyone can get it. We spent 32 days in the hospital and he recovered in a miraculous way. In fact, his physical therapist said she had never seen anyone get over GBS so quickly in her 30 years as a physical therapist!

What is Andrew like? He鈥檚 very outgoing, attends CIU with me on Thursdays, and his biggest deficit is connecting the dots. He does not easily understand outcomes, and how things lead from A to B to C. Our pediatrician taught us years ago to 鈥渇ocus on his abilities, not his disabilities.鈥

The special needs community uses the word 鈥渄elay,鈥 when it comes to DS. Think of driving on the interstate, and there are traffic jams, road construction or an accident. Your time of arrival to your destination has been altered, and you get there later than expected. That sums up DS quite well. It has taken extra time for Andrew to learn certain skill sets, and in the process all of us have learned patience! He loves animals, swimming, Disney movies, researching the Bible, pizza, Chick-fil-A and his family. One day after recovering from GBS, Andrew asked me what I thought about him writing a book and I said, I love it and so he came up with the idea and here鈥檚 the book title:

Fearless As A Honey Badger, Brave Like A Wolverine: Living With Down syndrome, Loving Animals, Learning Courage.

We pitched the idea to my publisher and he said, 鈥淵es, let鈥檚 do it. We have never had an author with special needs.鈥 Andrew and I began writing this book nearly a year ago. As of April 1, the book is now published and doing well! It was quite a process and enjoyable. Probably 90% of the book was written by him. He loves typing. He loves researching and we鈥檙e so proud of him. He came up with hundreds of Bible verses, movie quotes and stories of his life. We have learned one big principle with raising a child with special needs:

Every day is a gift, one of joys, surprises, some ups and downs. Embrace the journey.

You can purchase copies of the book at: .

  1. I wrote about the stress, joy and upheaval of Andrew鈥檚 birth, his early years and how I learned a few things about waiting on God and how to embrace silence and solitude in my book, The Mystery of Silence: Making Sense of Life When God Seems Absent (Core Media Group, 2023). Available on Amazon.

Higher learning. Deeper faith. A Christ-centered community on campus and online.听听or request information on enrollment at CIU by contacting Admissions at (803) 807-5024 or听admissions@ciu.edu.听听听听

Andrew Olshine and his father CIU professor Dr. David Olshine. (Photo provided)

Andrew Olshine and his father CIU professor Dr. David Olshine. (Photo provided)