Jeanie’s Story of Hope

May 5, 2011 | Uncategorized

Jeanie was a bright-eyed, sweet, baby girl.  She loved the attention of her brothers and sisters.

But when she was about a year old, she started staring more and was increasingly unresponsive.  Her parents sensed something was wrong, so they took her to the doctor.

They were stunned when they heard their daughter’s diagnosis: Autism and cognitive impairment.

Jeanie’s parents resolved to do the best they could.  They enrolled her in early intervention speech and occupational therapies.  They observed and researched everything so they’d be able to help their daughter at home.

Then, at age 3, Jeanie developed violent tantrum behaviors.  She’d scream endlessly, sob, bite and throw herself on the floor.  It was almost impossible to calm her down.

As Jeanie grew bigger, her world – and her family’s world – grew smaller and smaller.  They had to lock all the windows and doors to keep her from wandering outside.  She would flush towels down the toilet causing floods, and turn on the gas stove to watch the flames.  Her parents were on alert for her safety, 24 hours a day.

The family rarely left the house because of Jeanie’s constant screaming. And her brothers and sisters couldn’t have friends over to play.

Jeanie’s parents knew that, no matter how much they loved their daughter, they weren’t professionally trained to care for a child with her severe disabilities.  And they were concerned about the toll on their other children.  Eventually, they came to the realization that Jeanie needed individualized, expert care.

Care they found right here at The Hope Institute.

Hope’s specialists got right to work, helping Jeanie feel more comfortable and relaxed so she could learn – and love life – to the fullest.  At Hope, Jeanie has the 24/7 medical, therapeutic and educational care she needs – all in one safe, loving environment.

Jeanie’s teachers, doctors and therapists are constantly perfecting the ways they help her and it really shows.  She’s a peaceful, happy and healthy girl today.

Hope’s vocational program in gardening has opened up Jeanie’s world again.  She likes being outside and working now.  She’s engaging and cooperating with others, following directions and learning skills that will help her ease into a community work program when she’s a little older.

The Hope Institute provides hopeful futures to thousands of children like Jeanie, who struggle with Autism and multiple disabilities. But we could never make this crucial difference for so many children and families without the ongoing and generous support of caring friends like you.

Jeanie, and all of our children, thank you for opening your heart and for bringing Hope into their young lives.

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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