A Letter from Haylie
A young woman recalls her experience on The Institutes Program –
and how it changed her life
|Haylie writes a letter to her family|
Dear Family and Friends, I am writing to thank you for all of your help with overcoming my brain injury. For the last couple of years I have made a lot of progress and I don’t think of myself as brain-injured anymore.
For example, I used to have a lot of trouble walking because my left ankle was really tight and twisted. I used to have a lot of pain in my left foot whenever I walked. My balance was not good. I walked on the side of my foot all the time. I had no control of my left foot. Sometimes I could count on it for balance and to walk and sometimes I couldn’t.
Haylie had great difficulty moving
I also could hardly feel it very well, and it was uncomfortable to be touched at all. My mom poked me with a pin one time and I didn’t feel it at all.
I used to take gymnastics. I really liked it but I had a hard time with my left foot. Every time I tried to do something I landed sideways or fell, because my left foot would pull me to the left while twisting. Overtime I did get my round-off back handspring independently and no one notices anymore that I ever had a problem with my foot. It never hurts anymore and looks normal.
Haylie is now a fine gymnast
Though I don’t remember them at all, I used to have a lot of seizures too. I took several medications that caused a lot of negative side effects but I still had seizures every couple of weeks. They left me feeling tired, nauseous and unable to do anything. Now I no longer take any medication and no longer have seizures. I have been detoxified from medications for nine years. Some people thought that my liver would never recover, but my latest blood work shows that I am in perfect health.
Sounds used to really bother me too, and I had a very hard time concentrating with any noise going on in the room. I could hear sounds that other people couldn’t, and it really bothered me. If anyone talked while I was reading I would have to start all over. This also made it hard to remember things and I was frustrated and confused a lot. Now I don’t have any of these problems. In fact I think that my mom is more sensitive to sounds than I am.
Haylie’s strabismus made reading very difficult
I used to have a lot of trouble reading. I couldn’t see small print. To be able to see words at all they had to be almost twice as big as normal print. My eyes used to jump when I read. Everything I tried to read, it wasn’t sentence by sentence. It was more like my eyes jumped from one place to another. I also had a lot of blind spots. I could not see something to the right or the left unless I looked right at it. I tripped and fell a lot because I had so many blind spots. Now my vision is fine and I read fast. I read regular print at about three hundred words per minute.
Haylie’s strabismus is gone, and with it, her reading problem!
Today my life has changed dramatically. I am doing correspondence for high school through the university and even though I started out behind I will graduate with an honors diploma with my peers. My favorite class is math. When I graduate from high school I am going to college and get a degree in business. In fact I have my own business right now. I used to sell crocheted blankets that I made. I also sold over three thousand boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the past few years and raised enough money to take both me and my mom on a trip to Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. Now I have started my new business of selling vitamins and launched a website.
Haylie is now multi-talented
In every way I am a regular person now. I am even driving. Driving is lots of fun and I also have my own car. I drive myself every week to my own guitar lessons. I have been playing guitar for almost two years. I recently performed my great-grandfather’s favorite song, “Amazing Grace,” at his memorial service in front of fifty people.
Haylie begins her next adventure
All the time, energy and work that I put into the program was worth it, and I want to thank all of you for helping me so much.
Haylie during a recent TV interview
Haylie is now an entrepreneur. Leading her own company called Haylie’s Handmade, she crochets items and distributes them through her online store. In addition to creating everything in her store, she contributes regularly to help families on the Ivory Coast who are in need. Recently, she was featured on “Inside Indiana Business” as the innovator of the month. In the interview, she described how she created her own business so other entrepreneurs can learn from her experience. Her mother comments, “There could be close to half a million people watching Haylie explain how she created her business and how she is driven to help others with the profits she makes. They will all see this composed, confident, determined young woman articulating the passion that bubbles up so authentically from her giant heart, and they will see her mom sitting there next to her smiling a smile that feels too big for my face, thinking, “I remember when you couldn’t get the spoon in your mouth and look at you now!”
We congratulate Haylie and her mom for their amazing achievements. To read more from Haylie’s mom, her blog can be read here:
While on the Institutes program, Haylie began to progress quickly. She learned how to read and write, and showed quickly that she was a very bright girl. Her seizures stopped, and she has not had any for years. Her walking improved, and she became physically excellent. Not only did her walking become much better, she became a better and better runner. She was able to work up to more than 2 miles of running without stopping. She not only learned how to run, but also how to hop, ride a bike, swim, ballroom dance, and became an excellent gymnast.
Haylie progressed so much, that she was now able to join her peers in school. She did not need to go into a special education class – she joined normal classes, like all the other kids. In school, she has excelled. She is not distracted easily like she used to be, and she is an excellent student. At the age of 16, she already owned her own business. She has learned to drive and plays the guitar. She is happy and healthy.
Haylie is an excellent example of the potential of children who have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, and has demonstrated just how far they can go.