Eli Woodward-Roeth moved to Covington with his family at age 4. He is now 13 and in seventh grade at Graham Local Schools, where his mom, Lynnette, works. Eli has Down syndrome, while he has some cognitive delays and communication barriers, he excels at lots of things.
“Eli is probably the most polite kid I’ve ever met,” said his mom, Cheryl. “He opens doors for people, says please and thank you. He’s very compassionate, even with kids in his class. He notices if someone is struggling, and he immediately goes to help them.”
Eli got involved with Riverside/Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities in 2020 and started receiving case management services. His family was concerned about his tendency to run off or hide when he is focused on something he wants, and with the assistance of his Riverside case manager, they were able to obtain and install closed-circuit cameras in their home. With four siblings, the cameras have been helpful.
Shortly after getting involved at Riverside, his parents began looking for activities to get involved in. Started with basketball and other sports, but he easily gets overheated, so outdoor sports didn’t work for him. He was about 11 years old when Riverside brought back Special Olympics swimming from a COVID hiatus, so he started swimming with the team. Shortly after that, they heard about the Miami County Special Olympics powerlifting team and he’s been active with them as well. “He really enjoys them both, so it’s worked out,” Cheryl said.
In addition to participating in swim and powerlifting, Eli loves to go to the movies to watch new flick, eat popcorn and drink pop. One of his favorite movies is “How to Train Your Dragon,” which prompted his love for dragons. Eli is very engaged when watching movies, speaks fluent “Minion” (from the Despicable Me movies), likes to sing and will often sing along with movies.
Eli also loves to color and will sit for an hour or two just coloring. He is always proud of his schoolwork, promptly opening his backpack and showing his parents every paper he works on when he gets home from school. He is currently learning how to use a calculator.
Perhaps best of all, though, is Eli’s love of his family. “He’s definitely a family guy,” Cheryl said. “Since birth of his younger brother, that is the first thing he asks for every morning when he wakes up … his little brother. He then goes through the list of everyone in our family to ask where they are. He does that every morning and every night.”