Meet Carl

“I know I won’t fail.”

For Carl Riker of Ladera Ranch, Calif., video games are his life. Fortnite is his favorite and he’s absolutely psyched about the new season. He plays online with his friends all the time. Sounds like a typical 21-year-old guy, right? If he had his way, he’d be a streamer making lots of money. 

It’s good to have goals. And Carl has achieved quite a few in his young life. 

Carl, who has autism, lives with his maternal grandmother, who has taken on the role of supporting him as his mother also has a disability. They have a very strong bond. Sadly, she has macular degeneration, which is incurable and will cause her to lose her vision. She will no longer be able to drive or meet Carl’s needs. 

A few months ago, she sought out Bethesda to transition him to eventual full-time support that would provide routine and help him gain skills to be more independent. 

Right away, Bethesda established rapport with Carl, helping him do tasks like laundry, shopping and meal prep. Grandma couldn’t be more thankful. 

Carl is finishing up his diploma and hopes to attend Saddleback Community College. Beyond being an online gaming sensation someday, he also aspires to be an EMT. He’s athletic and likes to play basketball—which is perfect, as he’s really tall. He also loves animals and has fond memories of his dog. He hopes to have another someday. 

Since both of Carl’s grandfathers were veterans, it’s no surprise he’s very patriotic. He has their flags in his room, knows everything about the etiquette of flag folding and will gladly share that with you. 

Carl is also a huge NASCAR fan. He was lucky enough to get to a race a couple years ago. His favorite drivers are Jeff Gordon, Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr. He likes the fast driving and the excitement of it all. 

He’s a little shy with people he doesn’t know and sometimes likes to be a homebody, so this experience will get him out of the house and his video game comfort zone.