Our journey begins with a miracle baby boy named Bracen – a very medically fragile baby with an extremely poor prognosis, according to his medical team. God, Bracen and I, had a very different outlook – aka a vision.
During his first few years of life, in order to ensure Bracen’s survival, we lived by exclusion: avoiding crowds, family gatherings, shopping malls, church, and having incredible strict rules as to who and what came in the house. It worked!
As Bracen grew, his speech and other delays became a priority for me. After being refused by several community programs, due to his predicted lifespan, I found GRIT and we were accepted into the program. He was going to get the help he needed, at home. I felt like I had won the biggest jackpot in the world.
The GRIT TEAM began to change not only Bracen’s life, but our family’s life as a whole. Through home programming, his authentic self and potential emerged. Now, I was expected to give up my control and allow him to go to playschool. I was very reluctant and wanted him homeschooled. But, after extensive support and extraordinary efforts from the team, family and friends, I saw the growth in Bracen and realized I needed to grow just as much and more, so off to playschool he went. His life in the world, outside of my controlled home, was just beginning. This is called INCLUSION.
By the end of playschool, his severe delays became mild, he even conquered some delays and he made friends. Most of all he experienced a “normal” playschool experience. The tremendous growth he had over a one year period was at the very least, phenomenal. He was readily accepted for who he was. So, off to kindergarten we went.
Unfortunately Bracen became very sick and was hospitalized during kindergarten. As time went by, we were blessed with numerous miracles of healing for Bracen, my family and myself. After missing 4 months, Bracen returned to school thanks to everyone’s limitless compassion, patience, caring, love and humanity. He graduated from GRIT last year and is now in grade one.
Despite a very difficult year with Bracen’s health, I believe for our family, INCLUSION is the only way! I will forever be a strong advocate and keep working to educate the educators, our family and friends, the community and the world to ensure that my children are happy, healthy and lead successful, productive lives.