In the article published on Thursday, Roker explained that Nick is “obsessive-compulsive” — and at times this been quite challenging for his parents.
“Do I get frustrated with my son sometimes? You bet,” Roker wrote. “But then I remember my dad, how understanding he was. And Deborah reminds me that I have to show my son not only that I love him but that I like him as well. More than that, I admire him.”
Roker said he and Roberts knew Nick was different soon after he was born in 2002.
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Al Roker Opens Up About Raising His Teenage Son with Special Needs: ‘I Admire Him’ https://t.co/8TKwvWPlyB
— People (@people) April 26, 2019
“We knew right from the beginning that he would be up against a whole different set of challenges,” Roker recalled. “He wasn’t developing as fast as he should have, not holding our fingers as tightly, not always meeting our gaze, not as quick to crawl. At three, he hardly talked and could barely walk.”
But Nick began to show signs of improvement after receiving speech, behavioral and occupational therapy, PEOPLE reports. The teen’s hobbies now include going to “church, tae kwon do, swimming, chess, and basketball,” the outlet writes.
“Nick is a hard worker; he’s got a great sense of humor; he’s outgoing and a good swimmer; he’s developing a pretty good top-of-the-key basketball shot,” Roker said. “He takes chess lessons a couple times a week, and he does okay. He’s also very affectionate — like his grandfather — and full of love to share.”
Nicholas has found “his place in this world” through his “churchgoing” responsibilities.
“Last year, he went on a mission trip to Haiti with teens from church, helping out at an orphanage, reading to the kids, playing games with them, doing chores,” Roker recalled. “When we picked him up at the airport, the first thing he said in the car was ‘I can’t wait to go back.’”
Roker said Nicholas “has blossomed, far more than Deborah or I could have ever expected, given his original iffy prognosis.” Adding, “Where his OCD nature can be a drawback in some situations, it was a strength here. And he proved to be very competitive.”
Roker and Roberts also share daughter Leila, 20, and the famed weatherman has a daughter who was adopted during a previous marriage, the report states.
“‘You must be proud of your son,’ someone will say. Yes, I am. More than they’ll ever know,” said Roker. “The obstacles in this kid’s way were things that might have tripped up many others. Not Nick, not even with the disabilities he was born with.”
“I can’t begin to take credit for who Nick is and who he might become,” he added. “All sorts of specialists can tell you about limitations for this and that. Nick never got that message.”
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