Our journey of hope begins. For the first time since we received our son’s diagnosis and started putting together the puzzle pieces, we have hope. We have a compass and a map, and we have gas in our car and are ready to go.
Hearing that our son is on the autism spectrum was hard and painful, but even more painful was the resistance we encountered from our physicians and therapists who gave us no reason to hope that there could ever be a day when he wouldn’t carry the ASD label. He may improve, but he would always be autistic. Anything we wanted to try was shot down and not supported by the very people we were supposed to lean on for help. Whenever we asked about a particular test or a nutrition protocol they seemed to condescendingly say to us, “Shut up. We’re the experts!” because they thought there wasn’t enough scientific evidence to back it up though there were plenty of accounts of success that convinced us to at least try.
Up until now I feel like we’ve been wandering through a labyrinth and slamming into walls of resistance at every turn. Our son met with a therapist over the summer, but she determined that he would be better served by going to speech therapy. We got him going on that only to have his therapist quit and move to another city. My husband wasn’t too impressed with the therapy anyway. The local autism centers are overflowing, and there is a long waiting list. We have been following the GAPS diet with some success, and the person who is coaching us through the diet told us about The Family Hope Center about a month ago. We checked out their website and liked what we saw. For me, I especially liked that their approach is to train the parents to do the therapy at home. This is part of their philosophy:
Our clinical team and your family become partners in the strategic development of your child while keeping the family first.
Last week, my husband and I attended their three-day conference for Parents of Special Needs Children, which far exceeded our every expectation. The staff at The Family Hope Center works from the premise that all kids can be made well, and they believe in the potential of the brain to heal. You see, they don’t imprison kids into labeled cells. They believe that kids can become whatever they want to be rather than what their deficiencies say they have to be.
Rather than assigning a diagnostic label like autism, ADD/ADHD, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, etc. they
…evaluate your child’s development, pinpoint the location of the dysfunction in the brain, and design and develop a highly-individualized, tailored treatment plan—physical, physiological, emotional, social, and nutritional—that specifically targets the injured area. Then, we follow up with support, supervision and ongoing counseling.
The Family Hope Center developed an Integrative & Developmental Progression Chart which they use to calculate each child’s neurological age. The neurological age compared with the child’s chronological age is used to calculate the percentage of the child’s functionality and whether the injury to the brain is mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Their staff walked all of us participants through the chart and we calculated these numbers for our children. My husband and I calculated that our son, chronologically 83 months (almost 7 years), is neurologically 63 months (5 years 3 months) and functioning at 73% with a moderate brain injury. However, we did suspect that perhaps these numbers and percentage would be higher with more expert assessment.
My husband and son are at The Family Hope Center now, and the results of their expert assessment are that he is actually neurologically 45.4 months (3 years 9 months), resulting in functionality of 54% with a severe brain injury. This is much worse than I suspected. Hearing the explanation, I completely agree with their assessment though it feels like I was punched in the stomach. But now we know. We know where we are, and we know where we are going, and most importantly, with the therapy program they’re developing right now, we know how to get there. We have hope. We have that feeling that what is wanted can be had, and that everything will turn out for the best.
And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:28)
What do we want? We want our son to live the life God intended, to fulfill his every potential, and to be a blessing in the earth.
Before I felt like we kept slamming into walls. Since we found out about The Family Hope Center I feel like a whole new world of opportunity and bright horizons have opened up for us.