13-year-old Ryker loves music and Disney movies

Dec 20, 2023, 3:21 PM | Updated: 4:07 pm

ST. GEORGE — Thunder Junction All-Abilities Park in St. George is a safe space for kids of all ages and abilities to play and explore. It’s a place 13-year-old Ryker loves to visit; he loves the teeter-totter, the spinning chairs, and the red rock caves. But, if there is one thing Ryker loves the most, it’s the swings.

“Ryker loves the swings; he could swing all day,” said Karen Burnette, a Youth Connections Advocate with Raise the Future. “He also loves music, he loves to sing, he loves all things Disney and Looney Toons.”

Ryker is a big fan of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” and loves to sing along with the music.

“Connecting with him on those levels helps to bring out that personality he has and to meet him where he’s at as far as the things he loves, and then you see the beautiful part of his personality come through,” Burnette said.

Ryker (right) with KSL TV's Shara Park in the park.

Ryker (right) with KSL TV’s Shara Park (left) in the park. (KSL TV)

Ryker is non-verbal and has developmental disabilities. He has a team in place to help him grow and develop.

“He speaks with a device that helps him to communicate in full sentences, but he does repeat back words, and he shows his emotions through his facial expressions, as well as his body language,” Burnette said.

Ryker is Native American and comes from the Navajo tribe. Finding a family that will honor his culture is essential, as is finding a two-parent support system.

“Ryker will need parents that will be very involved with him, that will be able to spend a lot of time with him and be able to be there for him,” Burnette said.

Ryker is looking for a family that will show him patience, consistency, and, most importantly, love.

“He’s a really sweet, loveable kid, and he needs people that are just going to show up for him and be there for him continually,” Burnette said.

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13-year-old Ryker loves music and Disney movies