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Blooming Love: Nijah and Kyle Share Secrets for a Successful Relationship While Supported by Family and Staff

Blooming Love: Nijah and Kyle Share Secrets for a Successful Relationship While Supported by Family and Staff

Categories: Blog, Featured News, Self-Advocacy

By Maia Cadle-Hinton, AHRC Nassau Communications Intern

The story of Nijah White and Kyle Thompson’s relationship reminds us that love knows no bounds. When Kyle Thompson, 26, and Nijah White, 30, met, it was love at first sight.

Kyle says, “The first thing that came to mind when I saw her is, where have you been all my life?” Nijah and Kyle at the fall festival

Nijah lives in an AHRC residence while Kyle lives at home with his family. While both are neurodivergent, their relationship is like anyone else’s, meaning Valentine’s Day is met with apprehension and anticipation.

“I made him tell me what he’s getting me for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to make sure it was a good gift but that mine was better too, and I wanted us to match. We both got jewelry, so it works out,” joked Nijah.

The couple met in early spring 2023 through mutual friends at AHRC Day Services in Freeport. From 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., day services supports each person to discover their personal interests, while improving their communication and socialization skills. The services are designed to include a special focus on opportunities for building successful and meaningful interactions with other members of our community.

It was during those outings that Kyle and Nijah grew close — sharing inside jokes while learning more about one another.

Dating While Supported By Staff

With support staff, Kyle and Nijah go out on dates enjoying dinner, movies, and many recreational events organized through the agency. Regularly, they can be found in matching outfits and custom t-shirts, holding hands and planning more dates and their future together.

The pair complement each other’s personalities. Nijah knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to share her thoughts. In contrast, Kyle’s sweet, caring, and calm nature provides a steady foundation for their relationship, which Nijah loves.

So far, they’ve built a strong and loving relationship. Kyle admires Nijah’s passionate and fiery personality, her style, singing, service in the community, and her fearless self-expression. He appreciates her ability to infuse energy into everything they do.

One of the defining aspects of their personalities is their shared sense of humor. The couple share laughter everywhere they go, creating an environment of joy.
Kyle says, “As long as we spend time together, we are happy.” Nijah smiled deeply in agreement. Their advice to people seeking to build a successful relationship is that finding someone who balances you is very important.

As their relationship grew stronger, they introduced their family to one another and welcomed their support to facilitate dates.
Kyle’s family members are supportive of the relationship and happy to help however they can.

“I love Nijah. I am so happy to have her around,” says Kyle’s mom, Dawn Thompson.

Sometimes it is hard for them to go out whenever they want, making the support of family and staff even more invaluable. It provides them with access to transportation and activities along with peace of mind knowing they have someone there to meet their needs.

Settling in And Preparing For The Future

After many dates, the couple became more serious and got engaged in August 2023. They’ve since been making concrete plans for their future.
They have goals for employment, moving out together, and plans to explore the world through travel. There are even wedding bells on the horizon–they hope to marry in 2025 with a Paris- or Disney-themed wedding.

Their circle of support includes staff, family, and care managers, who help them pursue these goals and navigate how life and access to benefits can change when married.
“We’ve learned to be independent, but we know we can reach out whenever we need help,” says Kyle.

Recently, they both entered the workforce, a huge leap forward in becoming independent. Nijah, at a retail store and Kyle at a local barbershop. With this, they are one step closer to reaching their goals.

Through navigating the complexities of dating, they’ve become advocates for independence and meaningful connections for people in the IDD community. In celebrating Nijah and Kyle, we are reminded that with the right person and support, love can thrive.