Maddie’s Story of Hope

Sep 4, 2012 | Uncategorized

Maddie joined our Hope Institute family last year.  She’s a beautiful 13 year old girl with a wonderful sense of curiosity about the world.

But Maddie lives with profound cognitive impairment, autism and other developmental disorders that make every day a significant challenge for her.

Maddie is one of triplets.  Her mother, Pam, says that when they were toddlers, “Maddie was the ringleader.  The boys followed her every move.”  Then a few months later, Pam noticed that her daughter no longer looked at her when she called her name.  She was fussy and preferred to be alone.

Just before her second birthday, little Maddie was diagnosed with autism.

Pam and her husband, Brian, researched biomedical treatments and organized doctors, therapists and teachers to follow special programs so that their daughter could learn and grow to the best of her ability.

But about three years ago, Maddie became increasingly agitated and anxious.  She’d scream, pull her hair out and hit her head on the floor and bath tub.  She had to wear a special helmet all the time to protect herself from serious injury.

The family’s life became chaotic.  Pam cared for Maddie 24 hours a day.  The boys worried so much about their sister that they developed stress-related disorders.  It was virtually impossible to leave home with Maddie because of her violent behaviors.

Despite numerous tests, therapies and prescriptions, Maddie’s condition worsened.  She was admitted to a pediatric psychiatric hospital and needed two aides to prevent her from constantly hurting herself.  Her parents knew they needed comprehensive, expert help fast.

And thanks to the generous support of friends like you, Maddie’s family found that expert help right here at The Hope Institute.

Maddie’s made tremendous progress since coming to Hope.  Her teacher, Mary, says she’s an attentive and enthusiastic student who enjoys her independent work.  In fact, Maddie did so well in her first semester, she was promoted to a special structured teaching class off campus.  Most importantly, she’s learned to control her self-injurious behaviors.  No more helmet!

“The little things are the best part,” her mom says.  “We’re seeing her smile again.  We can eat at the table as a family again.  It’s all so bittersweet – we’re so happy she’s at Hope.  The staff knows exactly how to care for her.”

“Hope saved Maddie.  And Hope saved our family.”

The Hope Institute offers hopeful futures to children and families facing the extraordinary challenges of developmental disabilities, but we could never make this critical difference in so many lives without the help of caring people like you.

Thank you for opening your heart to the special needs of Hope’s children.

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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