The Costellos: A Big and Special Family

Costello_for_taylor3Tom and Gloria Costello have 17 children. 14 of whom are adopted with special needs. The Costello Family welcomed autism software company Brain Power of Cambridge, MA to their home in Long Island, NY to share their story and interact with Brain Power’s suite of apps for wearable technology Google Glass. Learn more about the Costello Family in this featured video and visit to learn more about Brain Power’s mission to unlock the potential of people with ASD.

Direct transcription of video:

Gloria: Tom and I met when we were 16, in high school, and got married when we were 22. And we decided that we wanted to have 4 children, and we had our whole plan. And then, Tom had a little cancer scare, and we thought our life was going to change for the worst. And his tumor turned out to be benign.

And then we talked about,

“What did we want to do? We now have this time that we didn’t think we were going to have.”Costello's_for_taylor2

And then we decided we wanted to adopt just one more child, and that’s when we brought Nick home. So, he’s our first child born with a disability–he has Down syndrome and autism. Just found we had a real love for raising Nicholas. We wound up adopting how many more in the meantime, now that I think about it?

Tom: Many more! (laughter)

Gloria: So that’s how we wound up with 17 children altogether.

“How much milk do you buy? How much bread do you buy?”

But the truth is, they don’t all come at once. It’s just not suddenly 17. And it’s really just like everyone else’s family.

Tom: We try to have a lot of structure and, you know…

Gloria: We always say we have a plan like a fine ballet.

Tom: We really made a commitment when we took these children in, that we were going to do the best that we could for each one of them. And you know, whatever it takes is what we do. It’s good. I mean, we do what we have to do for them.

As soon as the glasses went on and he could see something in the picture, he immediately calmed down. The rocking stopped. He got very, very, very calm.

Costello_for_taylor1And I was like, “Oh my God. Look at this. This is unbelievable.”

Gloria: Autism, for me, is one of the hardest ones, and I really long to know what he thinks. So, anytime that I can get a glimpse or a look into what they are thinking or how they are feeling, that’s a big gift. I’m really excited for the future. Hoping that with the advancement of technology, we’re going to be able to help him more with what he needs. Just when you’re about to give up, when you think it’s never going to happen, he’s going to do it, but you have to learn to ask for help from professionals and from other people.

You know, a lot of people say, “Oh, you’re an angel” or “You’re so wonderful,” and you know, we accept the compliment because we know we’re trying to do something good with our lives, but the truth is, what we get back is way more than what we do for them.

Most people say, “Aren’t you tired?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m tired. You’re tired. Everyone’s tired when they go to bed,” but knowing that when your life is over that you’ve made a difference, I mean, that’s really priceless.

Son: Are they upside down?

Chris (documentary filmmaker): Yeah! (laughter)

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