Shawn Stockman of the Grammy Award-winning group, Boyz II Men, discussed the hardships of having a son diagnosed with autism in a heartwrenching interview with CNN. He also shared the details behind the non-profit he started with his wife called Micah’s Voice.
Stockman, a judge on the show “The Sing-off,” revealed some of the challenges that he and his wife, Sharhonda, have been facing since their son, Micah, was diagnosed seven years ago with the disorder at the age of two. Stockman has now joined a list of African-American celebrities, which includes Toni Braxton and Holly Robinson Peete, who are publicly sharing their personal stories about having a child with autism.
Stockman performs around the world with the iconic group, Boyz II Men, and never seems to miss a beat. The R&B singer is always quick with a bright smile and seems to be in good spirits, despite the fact that his life at home is very different from the relatively carefree world of touring. Stockman is the father of three beautiful children—an infant daughter and a pair of nine-year-old twin sons.
Stockman said Micah was the first to walk and even talk, but when he finally turned one something changed. Micah just didn’t seem as lively, but the couple figured it was probably a language delay. After two days with a speech therapist, however, the couple received some heartbreaking news. Sharhonda recalled the experience as tears poured down her face. “She said ‘I don’t think we’re dealing with a language delay. I think it’s something else.’ When he finally got the diagnosis, I felt like Micah was taken from me,” she said as she tried to wipe her tears away.
The Stockmans have taken the necessary steps to make sure Micah, along with his brother and sister, can have a healthy childhood. The twin brothers now attend a school where Micah can receive extra help in all of his classes and still be with his brother, Ty. The couple has hired a behavioral specialist to work with Micah at home. He also has to attend therapy sessions and receive special education.
Shawn reflected on the immense expenses, saying, “There’s no way a normal couple or a single mom could afford this.” So the singer’s response was to launch Micah’s Voice, a non-profit organization that aims to take care of all the day-to-day expenses for one or two families with an autistic child for at least a year. Most of the therapy practitioners for autistic children do not accept insurance, and it is obvious that the average family doesn’t have the money to get their child the help they need. Shawn and Sharhonda are aware of how lucky they are that they have the financial means to take care of their son, and just want other families to have that same sense of security.
“All you want for your sons is to grow up and develop a life of his own, and to know that may or may not happen for my son, Micah, is extremely hurtful,” Shawn said.