The children we see are growing and progressing in ways their parents could have never imagined! In order to serve more children and families, Emerge must grow, too. We are challenging ourselves to do more, and we invite you to grow with us.
Below is a letter from the parents of one of our former clients, Brody. Brody graduated from our Bloom program in August. When you read their story, please know your contributions make joy like this a reality. As our children and our capacity grow, we hope you are inspired to grow with us this holiday season by making a year-end gift.
Independence, drive, hope, ambition, purpose, friendship, dreams, and success are just a few words that describe every parent’s aspirations for their children as they grow. Parents want the best for their kids and dream of future baseball players, football stars, ballet dancers, and even going to the moon on a NASA exploration. This holds true for parents of autistic children. In fact, new statistics show about 1 in 59 children are on the autism spectrum.
Medical advancements, awareness, and financial funding have recently allowed doctors to pin-point and diagnose autism at earlier ages. Early intervention is key for these children as they seek therapy and begin coping with their conditions. Places like Emerge can transform the lives of autistic children and their parents by their teachings and therapy sessions. The services Emerge renders provides hope and reassures not only parents, but the kids, too, that they too can dream big and become a pivotal part of society. That they, too, can change the world!
Our son Brody’s journey with autism began in 2015 when he was around two years old. His mother, Kacy, and I noticed our child was different, unique, sensitive to touch, sound, and usually alone and not participating with other children. Concerned, we sought medical help and were given the news that our child was on the autism spectrum. The diagnoses hit me like a ton of bricks!
Growing up you hear of the term “autistic,” but never believe it to be something that will affect you or your family, directly. I was lost, overwhelmed, crushed, somber, fearful for our son’s future. Questions would creep into my head such as, “will our son ever live on his own? Will he be able to go school? How will he react being around other children? Will my son ever be able to get a job and support himself or one day possibly have a family of his own? Will he ever eat anything other than McDonald’s french fries (yes – that it’s a struggle when all your child will eat are ‘ya-ya’s’)?”
Kacy was the upbeat and reassuring parent during this period. She was calm and accepting, always looking for the positive in our son’s situation. Immediately, she was proactive and started learning everything she could about Brody’s diagnosis and what this would entail for our family. As his mother, she knew early intervention and therapy was needed right away for his development. Through medical staff and friends dealing with similar issues, we were turned on to The Emerge Center in Baton Rouge.
Little did we know the life-changing events that would take place over the next two years between early steps school program and Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.
In less than a month at Emerge, Brody went from wearing a diaper to being fully potty trained. This would have never been possible without the ladies at Emerge and Brody’s therapists working so diligently with him. In August 2017, we were apprised of a preschool program at Emerge that would allow our son to go to school, as well as still receive his ABA therapy.
Through this school, he has gone from being non-verbal to a social butterfly. As other children in the class are still non-verbal, the staff at Emerge taught these four and five year olds sign language and other ways to communicate. It is truly inspiring to watch. I was absolutely blown away that my son knew the alphabet in sign language! The children have become a close-knit group and my son now has friends he can share his day with as well.
It’s very special to see your kid interacting, eating, and progressing day to day. These are things we all typically take for granted in our own lives, but when you see your kid branching out and doing them, it brings joy and happiness to all parents dealing with these conditions. Emerge has opened these children up and taught them life skills that will enhance their futures. Through one year of the Emerge program, my son is now academically fit and ready to begin Kindergarten.
Emerge was a God-send to our family, adding light to the before dimmed horizon. Brody has made incredible progress through his time at Emerge – he is even reading and doing simple math at four years old. I will forever be grateful to all the staff and administration at Emerge for the hope and guidance given back to my entire family.
Emerge is a beacon of light and has added hope for our future. No longer worried, I look forward to my son’s future, growth, and progressions. He WILL become whatever he wants to be in life. He WILL go to college, have friends, and even get into a little bit of trouble from time to time. He WILL be independent and self-reliant; this is all thanks to Emerge and its staff. I am optimistic and already dreaming of the future. Different is not always wrong…it takes different to change the world. These children, my son included, can make a difference. Brody may never play baseball or football, but he could be a modern-day Mozart, an accountant, a painter, a writer, or even get that job with NASA, after all. The sky is the limit and the future is brighter than ever.
On behalf of the Scanlan and Moran family, we would like to say thank you, Emerge, and God bless you as you continue your work and outreach to help other children combat Autism and give parents a lighted path to the future.
Arthur G. Scanlan II & Kacy Moran