Meet Jayden, Luke, and their little sister Anna. Every day, these exceptional kids are championed by their adoptive parents and Hope RISING Clinic team to overcome their challenges.
Eight-year-old Jayden, an avid gamer who loves dressing as his favorite movie characters, cannot put on his socks or zip up his sweatshirt. He was prenatally exposed to methamphetamine, and struggles with short-term memory and visual processing, making it difficult to read, write, and get dressed.
His six-year-old brother Luke is all about the outdoors and loves playing golf and baseball. But his sensory system is in constant overdrive, causing him to act impulsively. Luke has no perception of danger. His parents keep vigilance around the clock to prevent him from grabbing kitchen knives, climbing into medicine cabinets, and sneaking into a shed with sharp tools. Like his older brother, Luke is severely impacted by prenatal substance exposure.
The boys’ adoptive family knew their parenting journey would not be easy. Their mom, Joanne, is a pediatric nurse, and she understands the effects of early brain trauma on child development. But she struggled to get services and coverage for the issues the boys were experiencing. She advocated for the boys at school, but standard tests failed to qualify them for extra support. “I felt like the doors were slammed in my face everywhere, and nobody took my concerns seriously.”
So, when she heard about Hope RISING Clinic, she immediately put her family on the waitlist. And as soon as the boys started getting therapy, she noticed the difference: “In the beginning, they were not able to pay attention to the therapist for more than 10 minutes. Now they can control their behavior and follow directions for the whole session!”
In addition to therapy, the Hope RISING Clinic team helped the family advocate for support at school. With clear results from an FASD diagnosis and other evidence-based assessments, Joanne pushed for IEP plans that maximized learning for the boys. Luke is now thriving in special education classes, and Jayden gets extra help with reading and fine motor coordination.
Hope RISING Clinic also helped Joanne deal with the isolation of the pandemic, compounded by her children’s special needs. “I would not have made it through the pandemic without Hope RISING Clinic. The therapists not only see what I see, they understand what is causing the disability. And while they may not be able to erase the damage, they can give my children practical tools to help them grow and develop independence.”
Joanne and her family are not alone in facing the life-long consequences of prenatal substance exposure. The statistics are staggering: 1 in 10 babies in the United States are born with exposure to drugs and alcohol. And FASD is the number one cause of intellectual disabilities. Children with prenatal substance exposure are more likely to be expelled from school by the time they are 12 years old, have trouble with the law by age 13, and struggle with independent living and employment as adults.
“I know all the statistics,” says Joanne. “But I refuse for them to become another statistic. My goal is to raise kids that are happy, productive members of our society. And Hope RISING Clinic provides comprehensive services, seeing the whole child and giving them the best opportunity to succeed in life. We need more places like this clinic.”
Hope RISING Clinic is the only clinic in the region providing comprehensive diagnostic and therapy services for prenatal substance exposure. As of today, there are 76 children on the waitlist, and the demand for services keeps surging.
With your support, Hope RISING Clinic can serve more families. A gift of any amount will help kids like Luke and Jayden receive the services they need to thrive.