I was eight when my mother adopted my little sister. Tiffany was only five months old when she joined our family on April Fool’s Day of ’99, but during those first months my sister suffered unimaginable damage to her brain from being shaken, slapped, and overdosed with asthma medication. Thankfully the state removed my sister from physical harm, where after she was taken to emergency foster care homes, extended relatives and respite homes before coming to us.
We knew right away that Tiffany was developmentally delayed, but her emotional needs made the house a nightmare. She was every emotion but happy, all at once. We thought, how sad it must be inside her head – and we can’t help her, because we don’t know how to.
My mom found a clinic called Family Hope Center that specializes in healing brain injuries and developmental delays in children. The programs they create are tailored for each individual child, focusing on the specific injuries in the brain that result in medical diagnoses like Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. They focus on fixing the injury in the brain, rather than treating the symptoms.
The family, because of their intense love for their child and natural motivation to help them, can, with the proper training and support, become the best therapists for their special needs child.
Most developmental conditions are caused by injuries to specific portions of the brain and are not related to the muscles. Therefore the treatment must be centrally directed to the brain, not to the arms and legs. The brain grows with the proper frequency, intensity and duration of sensory stimulation and the opportunity to develop specific motor functions.
We put aside such labels as: comatose, vegetable, cerebral palsy, hemiplegia, paraplegia, learning disabled, mentally retarded, autistic, ADD, ADHD, hyperactive, hypoactive, Rett’s syndrome, dyslexic, epileptic, Down’s syndrome, stroke, Parkinson’s, etc. These and similar labels, which are simply names given to collections of seemingly unrelated symptoms, can become almost overwhelmingly painful and discouraging. Successful treatment of the brain can make these symptoms disappear.
At The Family Hope Center we pinpoint the location of the injury in the brain, design and prescribe an individually tailored treatment plan that specifically targets the injured area, and follow up with support, supervision and on-going counsel.
My mom began working with Tiffany all day every day from when she was 9-12. When my sister began the program she was in special ed classes for have of the school day. When she went back to school at 13, she was in all regular education classes and getting As and Bs. My mom still does program with her during the summer (reflexes, crawling and creeping for motor skills, tastes and smells, etc.) and she improves every day.
It’s amazing what repetitive movements can do with the brain.