Loni and Jim have seen it in James’ smile from the first day they met him. In fact, it was his smile that started them on a five year mission – a mission to ensure their son’s hopeful future.
“James had hold of us from day one,” his mother, Loni, says. “We couldn’t imagine life without him.”
James came to his adoptive parents at the age of two. He had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome, so they knew their son would have special needs as he grew.
But James seemed unusually fearful and he struggled to bond with others. He’d bang his head and bounce continuously. Loni suspected James had autism, but his doctors said Down Syndrome and autism couldn’t co-exist. Without a formal diagnosis, Loni couldn’t access the early intervention therapies she felt her son desperately needed.
As he grew older, James became more physically aggressive, a common autism-related trait. “It seemed like, for every one step forward, we took 10 steps back,” Loni explains. “But we always knew we could reach the real James. His smile told us so.”
Loni and Jim were committed to finding the right help for their son’s disabilities. After years of searching, and feeling defeated at times, their efforts were finally rewarded.
Thanks to caring friends like you, James and his family found hope at The Hope Institute.
Hope’s clinical psychologists evaluated James and confirmed a diagnosis of autism. “I started crying,” Loni says. “Finally, someone understood us.”
James’ diagnosis meant he could benefit from the very best treatments, resources and supports for children with developmental disabilities – all right here at The Hope Institute.
At Hope, James receives the personalized education and structured environment he needs in order to learn and thrive every day. When he first arrived on campus, James didn’t speak. Now he’s talking, singing and dancing in speech therapy. He’s doing so well, in fact, that he’s recently moved from Hope’s campus to a community home, where he’s learning essential independent living skills.
Loni and Jim have noticed wonderful changes in their son’s behavior. “James shows
love now,” Loni says. “When we visit each Sunday, I get hugs and kisses and he tells me he loves me.”
“The Hope Institute is a perfect name,” Loni adds. “It has given us true hope for our son.”
Your generosity makes it possible for children like James, who struggle with significant developmental disabilities, to live their lives as independently, and joyfully, as possible. Your support makes hopeful futures possible for these inspiring boys and girls, and their devoted families.
Thank you for seeing the love and promise in each one of Hope’s special children. James, and all of Hope’s wonderful girls and boys, wish you a joyous and meaningful holiday season.