February 24, 1994 – July 10, 2021
As a child, Joshua was born and raised in Rowlett, Tx. He was diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age. His lifelong challenge with his Intellectual Development Disorder (I.D.D.) disabilities served as an inspiration to all who knew him and became part of “Team Josh” in his 27-year journey. Though he faced many challenges in life, Joshua and his family always desired him to be as independent as possible, in his life, and be “all he could be.”
He attended Garland Independent School District from 1998 starting in PPCD, through graduation in 2013, beginning with Stephens Elementary, attending Vernon Schrade Middle School and finally, Rowlett High School where he was loved and accepted by all his peers and educators. He participated in various activities, programs, dances, and Coffee Shop in high school. He was a vibrant member of the Iron Eagles spirt squad and spent Friday night with his Iron Eagles spirit team at almost every Football game. One of Joshua’s jobs was to keep the spirit alive, never miss ringing the bell, sounding the trucker horns, for each touchdown, and carrying the Rowlett Spirit High School Flag at the end of the football games. He also enjoyed lining up on the goal line, at the end zone, post touchdown and performing pushups with his guys. He never let them down and was on top of his role on the team with enthusiasm in all things Friday night lights high school football had to offer. He was extremely social and outgoing, as most teens are, during his time at Rowlett High School as a Rowlett Eagle, and he was a shining star with the Eagle Band, the cheerleaders, and those moments were one of the best highlights of his life. Special Olympics was an annual event. The bar had been set high socially for his development needs, however, Joshua proved he could participate in over stimulated environments and entertain the student body and perform for all those present even with his development disability.
Transitioning from high school to adulthood was no easy task after graduation. Joshua yet again was challenged to overcome aspects of his disability but determined to always succeed. He never stopped trying. He attended My Possibilities University, in Plano Texas, a vocational education and job skills placement for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). He enjoyed learning life skills, various independent living experiences, job coaching skills and mentoring programs, art class, working in the gift shop and even assisting the office staff with various jobs to teach him the skills he would need to be a successful young adult. One of Joshua’s greatest joys was attending events and group celebrations, such as dances, proms, and all special events. Joshua liked to show up and show out. Always in his best dress, usually a 3-piece suit, spiked hair, slicked back, with cologne smell goods. He was coordinated, looking sharp at his best. He was in his element and could easily become the life of the party. Joshua simply loved to have a good time and thoroughly enjoy himself.
Joshua had many goals in life and wrote them down on his bucket list, a yellow sheet of paper, he meticulously kept up with in his wallet and constantly added goals and objectives for “PROGRESS.” Every day he practiced his skills he had learned always working toward each goal.
Joshua’s love of his family was constant, always wanting to please and make us proud. One of his biggest joys was impressing us with his personal goals, always requesting praise for a job well done. He routinely asked others, “Are you Proud of me?” He became Uncle Josh in 2013, to his nieces and again his nephews in 2015. He was their own personal, proud, life size teddy bear and an extremely proud Uncle. Being Uncle Josh and a role model to them brought him much joy. He loved video calls and telephone calling to talk to and check in on “his kids”, wanting to know their schedule and keeping up with their accomplishments and joys of their day-to-day life. It truly gave him a sense of pride and family responsibility. He allowed them to love him unconditionally and assisted them in play, whether gaming, dolls or building Legos, all his favorites as well.
Though his life brought many challenges, Joshua proved to us, time and time again with perseverance, determination, the right tools, and support of Team Josh, he could be a success in life. His will and determination to work hard and meet each of his goals, even as an IDD individual, is inspiring in and of itself and a life lesson to us all.