Jackson was a happy baby boy. He walked early, played ball and loved to swim with his mom.

But then something changed. At 18 months, Jackson began to withdraw. Words he knew disappeared. His gaze became distant. In front of his mother’s eyes, Jackson faded away.

Autism took Jackson.

“I broke down and cried, ‘Why my child?’” Emily remembers. “I was in shock.”

Like any toddler, Jackson threw tantrums. But his were different. He bit and scratched others and banged his head. Emily searched for help from doctors and therapists but nothing worked.

By age five, Jackson was putting himself and others at risk. His kindergarten teacher called Emily so often to take him home that she lost her job. As Jackson’s behaviors escalated, their lives spiraled downward.

“I had to nail our windows shut to protect him from running into the street,” Emily explains. “I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t be in the bathroom by myself for fear he would hurt himself.”

Emily knew she desperately needed help for her son, but she didn’t know where to turn…

… until she found Hope.

When Jackson arrived at Hope, he hit or banged his head more than 50 times a day. His aggression was unpredictable. He required 24/7, one-on-one care – something extremely difficult for Emily, or any other parent, to provide.

Jackson’s team coordinated his medical care with behavioral therapies and teaching strategies to help him focus, so he could begin learning to care for himself and communicate with others.

Today, Jackson is speaking words again, getting dressed on his own and brushing his teeth with only a little help. “Hope’s consistent expectations are helping Jackson gain a sense of control,” Emily says.

At Hope, Jackson is discovering his potential every day. And Emily is discovering her son again.

The Hope Institute creates hopeful futures for children like Jackson every day. But we couldn’t provide this critical care without the heartfelt generosity of friends like you.

Thank you, again, for opening your heart to Hope’s wonderful children.

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