Genetic Abnormality and Brain Injury: Joshua’s Journey to Wellness 7/15/2015
Genetic Abnormality — Brain Injury Responds To Help
The following story was written by Ariana, the older sister of Joshua, who is on The Institutes Intensive Treatment Program. Ariana, 12 years old, is an important part of her brother’s team and a strong proof that for genetic abnormality – brain-injury children the family is the answer.
My name is Ariana and I am very grateful for the opportunity to share the story of an exceptional boy named Joshua and his journey to wellness.
Nine years ago, I was a two-year-old girl waiting for the arrival of my first sibling, Joshua. When he was born, he wasn’t breathing on his own, so nurses had to perform CPR to resuscitate him.
After a few days, we took him home and everything seemed fine, except that Josh was sleeping too much, eating too little, and hardly cried, unlike the other babies. Joshua slept so much that he missed meals and was starting to turn yellow.
After enduring a month of invasive tests at the hospital, there were no still no answers for his struggle to live and to breath.
Finally, my parents were told that Joshua was born with a rare genetic disorder called 22q13 deletion, or Phelan-McDermid Syndrome.
According to leading scientists, children with this diagnosis have a long list of problems ahead of them. This genetic abnormality — brain injury label was scary.
The doctors told my parents that he would never walk, talk, live independently or make friends and that my parents should put him in an institution and go on with the rest of their lives. Of course, my parents said ‘No’ to this advice and began searching for help and hope for him.
Joshua Overcomes A Genetic Abnormality — Brain Injury
When Joshua was 4 months old, Mom and Dad learned of the work of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential and read the book What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child. Mom says that she cried as she read it because it all made sense. Every word spoke of hope and possibility.
Three months later, my parents were able to take the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child Course. They learned many things, but most of all they learned that the brain grows by use.
This means that the brain will grow when given the best nutrition, physical and intellectual stimulation. The first thing my parents did when they came home was to begin making nutritional changes for all of us.
We stopped drinking cow’s milk in favor of soy and rice milks. I loved milk but I didn’t know that my body did not like it at all. Neither did Josh’s body. We both felt better and rested more when it was removed from our diets.
They also learned that one of the greatest discoveries to benefit the hurt child was the floor. For years, hurt kids were confined to expensive wheelchairs, braces, custom-made seats, and more, when the cheapest solution to mobility problems can be found for free everywhere.
My parents decided we would spend all of our time (except eating) on the floor. Crawling on the belly on the floor led to creeping on hands and knees.
Creeping led to walking and walking led to running. Joshua’s journey to greater mobility was so much fun. Now he could be free. Josh loved this part.
To address Joshua’s delayed mobility, a patterning program was implemented. Patterning is a program used to teach the brain by repeating the message “this is how it feels to move.” So often we do not realize that we travel in a cross-pattern with alternating arms and legs. The patterning repeats the message of how to move with great frequency.
Every day in the morning, afternoon and evening, friends and family came to our house to help with patterning. When I was younger, I was too small to help pattern, but I was able to train the volunteers by allowing them to practice with me. It was fun to be part of the team, and I knew that I was helping my brother to get well. We weren’t going to take this genetic abnormality — brain injury diagnosis sitting down.
For a long time, Joshua was too weak to hold his own weight. Using the Vertical Kinesthetic Environment, Joshua gradually learned to stand on his own. His legs grew stronger each day.
After walking the overhead ladder, back and forth, and back and forth, and back and forth….
… Joshua took his first independent steps at 2 ½ years old.
During our early learning-to-read years, Joshua and I used homemade books for reading. His first book was Life on the Farm. My favorite book was My Little Pony. I loved reading to my brother.
As a reward for doing well to this day, Joshua earns the privilege of choosing new books to read. He reads really sophisticated books, including historical fiction, some of Shakespeare’s famous plays, and theories of math. Currently, he is studying Anatomy and Physiology as taught on DVD by a college professor.
Joshua has always been determined to reach new levels of success. When Joshua was 3 years old, he used a letter board to tell us that God wants him to be a healer. When he grows up, he wants to help hurt kids. I believe he will.
There have been so many milestones achieved since he was born, and without the Intensive Treatment Program, few of them would have been achieved.
Joshua would not have developed the physical structure of a mobile child without exposure to the proper functioning of the body. He would not have experienced brain growth without the opportunity to follow intellectual pursuits. He would not have been able to utter a word without enough oxygen to perform multiple tasks.
Now he sleeps through the night without disturbance. Now, with minimal help, he feeds himself. Yes, the boy who would never be independent.
Joshua can speed read and do instant math. He can solve problems and has a great appreciation for violin music. By 6 years old, Joshua was walking 2 miles a day. After a lot of planning and coordination, Joshua participated in his own event. Joshua’s Journey to Wellness was very exciting. While Joshua, the boy who would never walk, walked the mile.
Now he can run 2.5 miles in 27 minutes and is beginning to brachiate high on an overhead ladder with help.
Joshua is an intelligent young man with the potential to do great things. He is learning to swim. He is teaching me to be quiet and listen. With all of the support that Joshua receives from his family and friends, in the blink of an eye, he could be a well child.
With help and hope all things are possible. A hurt kid can heal and heal others. I believe he will.