The "Today" show weatherman opened up about raising his 17-year-old special-needs son Nicholas with wife, ABC News senior correspondent Deborah Roberts, and how he feels nothing but admiration for Nick despite dealing with challenges in everyday life.
In an article he wrote for Guideposts magazine, Roker said that Nick is “somewhere on the spectrum" and "maybe" suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, known as OCD. He shared he and Roberts realized something was different soon after Nick was born.
“We knew right from the beginning that he would be up against a whole different set of challenges,” the 64-year-old told the outlet. “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 3, he hardly talked and could barely walk.”
Nick has received and continues with speech, behavioral and occupational therapy, which has helped him greatly to develop hobbies that include swimming, chess and basketball.
“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 added that Nick is a "hard worker," has a "great sense of humor," and is "full of love to share." The Rokers also have a daughter, 20-year-old Leila.
The teen is also involved heavily in his church. Nick carries the cross down the aisle during Sunday services. “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 explained. “When we picked him up at the airport, the first thing he said in the car was ‘I can’t wait to go back.'”
The anchor also described how practicing tae kwon do has helped with his OCD tendencies and helped earn him a black belt in the martial art sport.
“Nick blossomed, far more than Deborah or I could have ever expected, given his original iffy prognosis,” he said. “Where his OCD nature can be a drawback in some situations, it was a strength here. And he proved to be very competitive.”