While many are feeling exhausted and fatigued from the remnants of the pandemic and a year in quarantine, Preston Cosklo, a 15-year-old boy who suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, is thriving. For the past year, Preston has continued to use technology and virtual resources to stay engaged with his faith and encourage others to do the same.
“Ever since he was a young boy, Preston had an affinity and special interest in spiritual things,” said Tiffany Cosklo, Preston’s mom. “And that interest has continued to grow throughout the years and helped him—and us—during very difficult times. He loves to attend meetings [of Jehovah’s Witnesses] with the congregation, watch Bible-based videos and ‘talk’ to others about the good, positive things he learns.”
Preston, who cannot speak or control much of his limbs, finds ways to share with others what he learns.
“One of the many ways Preston communicates with us is through his tablet and a communication application, but he will also make certain movements with his arms and noises that we’ve learned to associate with what he means,” said Tiffany. “For example, he will point at his legs and then point toward the sky to tell others about his faith in God and that one day he will be able to walk.”
While many have found staying at home due to the pandemic a difficult situation, the Cosklo family appreciates the comfort and ease the extended quarantine has brought to all their lives. They can still do many of the things they once did, including doctors’ visits, spending time with family, attending Bible classes, all while being at home with everything Preston may need just a few steps away.
“It takes hours to prepare when we’re going anywhere with Preston. We have to pack several bags, get him ready, and time everything from his meals to his bathroom visits,” said Tiffany. “But having virtual options available to us, makes a big difference in his quality of life.”
Preston, who is described by his friends and family as someone “with a big personality, fashionable, a foodie, and very particular about how his hair is styled and sandwiches are prepared,” is always looking forward to a specific time of the week—Sundays. This is when he gets to see his friends virtually from the local congregation.
“Preston is definitely a driving force in this family,” said Kevin, his father. “He is constantly sharing encouraging thoughts and videos with others and always pays attention during our spiritual virtual meetings.” Kevin adds, “I think about how I was when I was his age. I didn’t put as much effort into anything or focus, but Preston is special. He is an encouragement for me and all of those around us to draw closer to God and focus on the things that really matter in life, not the things we can’t do or the problems we have.”
“When Preston was a little boy, we were told he wouldn’t be able to have much of a life, recognize us or do much at all, but here we are,” said Tiffany. “Preston’s determination and his love for God has had a big impact on our lives. We don’t need a ‘perfect child,’ we have the most amazing son and I wouldn’t change him for the world.”