Michael, our miracle son, was premature, slow in development, underweight and height challenged. These issues were exacerbated by Michael's difficulty with speaking progression. Cause for concern peaked when no early development specialist, and we saw many, had any success in working with him or shedding any light on this life-altering issue. While Michael communicated freely by gesticulations, facial gestures, and head movements he spoke few words and experienced limited to no speech progress. My wife was relentless in her quest to do whatever possible to prove the medical specialists wrong and to find someone who could help.
After several unsuccessful meetings with specialists, our pediatrician, the parent of a special needs child, suggested that we explore the Early Intervention Program at St. John of God Community Services. Despite my hesitancy, my wife was persistent and scheduled the Early Intervention Evaluation. Afterwards, a Service Coordinator for EI visited with us. After discussing the results of the evaluation with the Early Intervention Team, my wife was eager to obtain the help. Although grateful and optimistic, I remained a skeptic. How could this woman assure me that SJOGCS could address Michael’s issues when so many specialists were befuddled? Thankfully my wife won.
Following that meeting, we were introduced to the Occupational Therapist assigned to help Michael. Admittedly I was not sold on this first visit, and resigned myself to believing that even this organization could not fill the void that baffled numerous specialists. A variety of exercises, which included sign language tutorials, were deployed. I remained skeptical. My wife, however, saw something which conflicted with my inner "doubting Thomas". At my wife’s insistence, the Occupational Therapist, continued to work with Michael. The transition was nothing short of miraculous. In a period of great patience and understanding, she had Michael participating in a variety of speech exercises. Her patience and demeanor rivaled that of the Prophet Job. The “doubting Thomas” in me transformed into one who genuflects at the mere mention of SJOGCS Early Intervention program.
Today Michael is a 14-year-old active boy who has such a bright future. He is articulate, wields an amazing vocabulary and speaks with great clarity and elocution. Michael also is a third-degree blackbelt; the owner and manager of 2 microbusiness; gainfully trades cryptocurrencies; is a computer whiz; writes computer code; is an animal rights activist; and among many other things has provided the honor of my life. He is my personal gift from God. His work ethic and social interaction stand out from so many others his age, and he has great hopes and dreams. It seems like yesterday when the representatives of SJOGCS were sitting with us conveying the benefits that they could provide to Michael. That was 12 years ago. But for the help of St John of God Community Services Early Intervention program, the dear Lord, and my wife, I may have written a different story.
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