AM I SURE I’M ON THE RIGHT TRACK?
© Article, images, videos and all other material courtesy of Well Planned Gal
HELPING MY CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
When Debbie Fowler’s 6-year-old son MJ was diagnosed with mild, high-functioning autism, she started doing everything she could to help him adapt to situations that seemed to come so naturally to other children his age.
“We were on the traditional track for the majority of children with an autism spectrum diagnosis,” says Fowler, recalling how behavior therapy, speech therapy, and other programs were prescribed for her child. “Those were all good things and served a purpose in helping MJ, but they were mostly about helping him adapt and function in his environment.”
Like Fowler, Maria Escobar wanted to do right by her son when she learned of Max’s Down syndrome. They initiated all recommended protocols and started vision therapy for his nystagmus.
“At the time, Max had a lot of medical issues, including failure to thrive,” recalls Escobar. “He wasn’t gaining any weight, so we started occupational therapy for feeding. The school district took charge of all his therapies, which was an overwhelming parade of therapists.”
Despite all of the intervention, and like many parents of children with special needs, Fowler and Escobar started to wonder: Could my child do better than just adapt to his environment? Could he actually thrive?
THE RIGHT HELP: NOT EASY TO FIND
“Every time I picked Max up from school, the teachers greeted me with, ‘Max can’t do this, Max can’t do that,’” recalls Escobar. “I became depressed and desperate, and pulled him out of school after one year to homeschool.”
As it had for hundreds of other parents in the last fifteen years, the world changed for Fowler and Escobar when they found out about the Family Hope Center—an international organization that trains parents to be their child’s primary therapist, with resulting gains that have astonished parents and professionals alike.
“TREAT THE BRAIN, NOT THE SYMPTOMS”
For some parents, a diagnosis of ADD, dyslexia, autism, Down syndrome, or another disability can be crushing. Plus, the symptoms can be so difficult to manage that there’s no energy left to seek the underlying reason for the problem.
The Family Hope Center’s therapists, doctors, and other experts teach parents where the source of their child’s dysfunction is located in the brain—then show them how to use specific drills to develop the injured areas. Parents are often surprised to learn that successful treatment can be found in this intense therapy that they themselves do instead of through more invasive, costly, and potentially dangerous surgeries and medications.
“After working with The Family Hope Center, we were on a track that would actually change and heal the parts of MJ’s brain that were not functioning properly,” recalls Fowler. “I often tell other parents that they need to look at the neurology behind their child’s special needs. I tell them that it is possible to help their child overcome their neurological challenges, not just help them adapt to living with them. I try to explain how the traditional therapies are only addressing the symptoms, and that it is possible to change and heal the parts of the brain that are hurt or not functioning properly.”
“NO ONE HAS ANYTHING THAT IS EVEN COMPARABLE”
First, parents are taught to apply the Center’s Integrative and Developmental Progression (IDP) chart—which measures brain function across age categories and in all developmental areas of the brain—to their own child, as a basis for ongoing measurement of progress.
“With their developmental chart, we are able to see how each part of his brain is functioning and what needs to be better organized,” explains Fowler. “It gives you a starting point and a specific direction. We can see the progress he’s made and how he has grown neurologically. It has totally changed the way I look at my child.”
“We have seen many doctors, developmental specialist, and therapists, and no one has anything that is even comparable to what the Family Hope Center has to evaluate and help children,” concludes Fowler.
“IT IS WHAT THE NAME SAYS”
After attending Well Planned Gal