Hannah and Maisee’s Story of Hope
Hannah and Maisee are beautiful, eight-year-old twins. Like lots of other children their age, they like to get messy in art class and are very curious about the world around them.
But Hannah and Maisee live with autism. And they’ve never developed the ability to speak.
Four years ago, their grandfather, Roger, took them in. He had to quit his job in order to care for them. “At first, I didn’t know much about autism,” Roger admits. “I just knew that they needed me.”
Before coming to live with their grandfather, Hannah and Maisee had been secluded because of their behaviors. They were withdrawn, feared strangers and had tantrums when approached. They almost never left the house.
Roger aimed to change that right away. And, the more he read, the more he realized that autism is not the same experience for every child on the spectrum. “My girls are like snowflakes,” he says. “They interact with the world in completely unique ways.”
Although the girls had special education aids at their local school, Roger felt that they needed more individualized learning and behavioral supports. The only problem was… he had no idea where to find that critical help for his girls until Hannah, Maisee and Roger found Hope.
Roger worked with the girls’ school teacher to transition them into Hope’s autism-focused, day school classrooms.
With Hope’s customized care and education, Hannah and Maisee are so much more confident and content today, especially in their favorite art class. There, the girls are learning to tolerate new textures and are enjoying the satisfaction of completing tasks – important skills that will prepare them for working with their hands in a vocational setting when they grow older.
Most importantly, art provides an essential means of communication for nonverbal children like Hannah and Maisee. Through their artwork, the girls can express what they observe and find interesting about the world around them.
For more than fifty years, Hope’s personalized living, learning and wellness services have offered true hope to children like Hannah and Maisee, who face the extraordinary challenges of autism and other developmental disabilities.
But we could never make this critical difference in so many young lives without the help of caring friends like you.
Roger’s so proud of his granddaughters’ progress at Hope – and you should be, too. “I feel as if the girls are home at Hope,” Roger explains. “My girls may never be able to add or tie their shoelaces, but if they can be surrounded by love and enjoy their lives as much as possible, that’s a dream come true for me.”
Thank you for making dreams come true for families of children like Hannah and Maisee.
At Hope, we support children and families to achieve optimum growth, independence and joy.
The Hope Institute
15 East Hazel Dell Lane
Springfield, IL 62712