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Music therapy makes a difference

Last month our eight year old daughter was hospitalized with a very serious illness. She was in extreme pain and had extreme difficulty breathing. She was supposed to be exercising her lungs on the hour as well as sitting up for part of the day and walking the halls. But, she was in so much pain, it was hard to convince her to do this.

One of the services Bronson Children’s Hospital provided us was music therapy. Several days a week the music therapist would come visit us. The therapist would give my daughter a harmonica or another job that required deep breathing. This made exercising so much more “fun” that my daughter never realized she was getting better through this service. She just wanted the “Taylor Swift lady to come back and play music with her”.

The music therapy was critical in healing process. My daughter has now recovered and back to her normal self. I believe the recovery was so much faster due to the specialized therapy provided.

Therapy makes the difference for a family with a son with Down’s Syndrome

We have a four-year old son with Down Syndrome. At a very early age, before his second birthday, we started working with a speech and occupational therapist. The sessions are fun, play based, and for us as parents - invaluable!

Our son is thriving and so is our family. Therapy has had a positive impact on his development and our household. We have a home that nurtures his abilities, creates an atmosphere for success and does not feel consumed by disability. We have hope and see so many possibilities.

Over time, the support and tools we have received through therapy has transferred into our home in a way that is natural and does not feel like therapy. We are able to go about the business of normal family life.

The story of a girl with Autism

Brianna is a 5 year-old little girl who was given a diagnosis of autism. She began receiving therapy in January of 2009. She attended speech therapy and psychology initially with occupational therapy added in May. Brianna was very sensitive to noise in the environment and she seemed to experience extreme anxiety about coming into the building or going into a room that she had not been into before. She had difficulty playing with other children and would often scream or cry if it was too loud.
Brianna participated in weekly therapies as well as a two week intensive therapy session during the summer. During the intensive session, she attended two times per day for an hour each time. Following the intensive therapy, major changes in behavior and the ability to play with other children was noted. Brianna was able to stay calm even if it became louder in the environment. She was able to engage with other children in pretend play, and she was able to make her wants and needs known in a positive manner instead of yelling.
Brianna continues to see the psychologist, the speech therapist, and the occupational therapist to practice and refine her skills.

Julia’s Story

Our daughter, Julia, is almost 5 years old. She was diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis at age 1 and Autism just before her 3rd birthday. Julia had brain surgery at 3 years old to remove her left temporal lobe and a portion of the parietal lobe due to uncontrollable seizures. Julia is nonverbal and has many severe sensory issues which make it very difficult for her to relate to her surrounding environment. Through private therapy, we’ve been able to increase Julia’s auditory skills with Therapeutic Listening. She has also increased her attention span and decreased her frustration level both at school and home. This therapy has allowed her to train other portions of her brain to help her live a more meaningful and productive life. A year ago, Julia was only able to stay in her classroom for 10 minutes at a time. After summer therapy and a week intensive, Julia is a different student. She is taking minimal breaks from her class, she is walking to her specials (instead of riding in a wagon) and is beginning to use crayons appropriately, rather than chew them. We are so proud of all of Julia’s growth and her will to teach all of us around her! We consider our family to be blessed with Julia and the connections we’ve made.

How therapy helps a boy with genetic chromosomal abnormality

Juan is 4 year-old little boy with a genetic chromosomal abnormality. He has difficulty with attention, speech, balance, and motor coordination. Juan began attending speech and occupational therapy in November of 2009. Juan attends speech therapy one time per week and occupational therapy one time per week.

Within two months of starting therapy, Juan is able to stay engaged in a play sequence for longer periods of time. He is able to listen to requests and respond with more ease. His speech has become easier to understand. His teachers and extended family have noticed the improvements as well.

Juan continues to see the speech therapist and occupational therapist one time per week.

One mother’s plea for her son

My son was born with Septo Optic Dysplasia, a rare disorder that has affected his development and health. He is severely cognitively impaired, non-verbal, visually impaired, and physically impaired. Life is challenging. Through early intervention and private feeding, physical, occupational and speech therapies, he has made some impressive gains. He can walk, climb, and stand up through balance and strength work with therapists. He has learned to communicate non-verbally by shaking his head yes. He is eating and sleeping better and more “aware” of his body. He is able to process life through his five senses in a more productive and beneficial way. My son desperately needs private therapy to help develop independence and continue to make gains in basic developmental areas. Unfortunately, private therapy is not always covered by health insurance. In our case, we have to pay for therapy out of pocket, which has brought financial hardship to our one income family. Due to my son’s severe impairments, our family lives on one income to insure that he has the adequate care that he needs. He could use more frequent therapy sessions but we just cannot afford it. My son is a sweet child who has love and smiles to give his therapists who have worked so hard to help him be the little boy that he is today.

One family’s journey with a son and a daughter

I can’t begin to thank you for what you’ve done for my child. Your therapists are kind, considerate, and very nurturing. When I first saw the therapist engage with my son, I knew that he was in good hands.

When we made the switch from ABA to DIR/Floor time, my son went from uninterested to excited and eager to learn. He went from speaking NO words when we began in January, 2007 to beginning preschool at his appropriate level in the fall of 2009. As he began to speak, he gained confidence and showed so much personality. The therapists not only taught our son to speak, they returned to us a sweet boy who blossomed before our eyes.

With a team of various disciplines and experience weighing in on her case, I knew that my daughter would receive the best treatment available.

Staying current on new and surfacing treatment options, I knew that my child’s therapist was at the leading edge of treatment.

After seeing several medical and educational professionals, frustration began to set in. I noticed something different in your therapists; they saw my child for who she is, with all of her potential. What I most appreciated was the HOPE you brought!

It’s not just the help you’ve provided to my kids… I so appreciate the time you’ve spent with me, teaching me HOW to continue the therapy at home. That style of treatment not only EMPOWERED me as a parent but also relieved the frustration that I had pent up from working with other educational agencies.

Some days were literally tantrum after tantrum. I didn’t know where else to turn. Since we’ve begun therapy, our daughter has learned how to remain calm, uses sign language and is beginning to speak as well. Our days are SO much better now… we even venture out to the grocery store and can eat in restaurants again. We’re not through with treatment yet but the progress we’ve made thus far as given our family the freedom we had lost.

We’ve seen therapists 2x weekly for three years now… for both my son and daughter… and I can honestly say that it has been the best investment our family could make. My son has completed his treatment and attends preschool with other children his age. My daughter has made terrific progress that has greatly improved our quality of life.

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Testimonials

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Can you imagine the joy we felt when we received news that we were receiving a scholarship from Family Hope Foundation to help pay for Grace's Occupational Therapy at The Center for Childhood Development? Steven and I still get emotional talking about this today. Family Hope Foundation understands the emotional and financial strain that comes with helping a child with special needs.

The scholarship was the difference between our daughter continuing to develop her skills or experiencing setbacks during her fundamental years. Thank you for believing in Grace and making this dream a reality for so many families.

-The Kolenda Family