HELP EMMA'S DREAM'S COME TRUE
It’s been interesting to see how things have panned out since we put up this website. We have had incredible support in the form of lots of fans( over 250) from our page and things of that sort. For this we are deeply grateful: your “like” clicks, and your prayers and hopes and comments and donations for Emma are so deeply inspiring, they help us keep going when the odds seem against us.
At the same time we have had the opposite reaction from many we thought would be supportive. Our phones are not ringing here at the Stanley house, and there is an unmistakable lack of support from many we thought to be real true friends and supporters. Are we disappointed? We have our moments. But in general we are excited. You see, we don’t see someone’s opinion of us as a good/ bad/ right wrong thing. We don’t let it sway what we believe in.
We all go through times in our lives when we change. Change happens. When it does some of those people who have stood by you and been near you might not anymore. It’s OK… no wait a minute, it’s just fantastic! What if we all put out there just who we were, and what we stood for, no holds barred? Now I am not talking about blasting people and throwing heavy judgments around, I am talking about being who we are and letting others be as well. I believe the result of that will in our case be a cleansing, a new beginning, a realigning of clarity in our lives that will then allow the people who align closest to us to be close to us and we can all support each other. What a beautiful thing. And equally beautiful, the people who have fallen away from our lives, they in turn have an opportunity for clarity and realignment. My hope for them would be the same: that the space they have created by choosing not to associate with us or support us would open a space for something wonderful in their lives.
You see, we didn’t start this not to finish it. We didn’t plan to recover our child from autism. We didn’t plan on autism at all. None of us do. We put off for so many years believing we were dealing with autism. We didn’t ask for this. It wasn’t part of our daydreams about having a child.
But guess what? We are the parents of a special needs child. Our child does have a really unique set of needs that we have chosen to tackle in a really different and effective way. It’s not for everyone, this road we are on. But I’ll tell you this: We are deeply grateful to have Emma. She is one of the greatest gifts of our lives. We will fight for her and give her the best possible chance for full complete recovery. This determination is not based on whether or not a given group of people believe in us, or what we are doing. Our belief comes from careful research, consulting with top doctors and experts, and most of all observations of Emma’s extraordinary response to our program.
So, to those who support us: thank you thank you thank you! To those who do not: we wish only the best for you. That you would find your passion, the people or things you most want to support and fill your life with. If you just want to wish the best for Emma, even if you don’t support her program or the way we are doing things…. Go to her site, or facebook page and click like, make a donation if you feel moved to, share this on your walls, email your friends links. Call us and ask us to play. Either way, we wish you only the very best: That your journey would be filled with those who love and support you, and that you would find your bliss.
We’ve found ours. It’s in the eyes and the heart and the soul of one very special little girl named Emma Jean, fighting her way back to us, and back to health. We’ll stand by her always, even if it means standing alone.
It was crunch time this week. I leave for New Frontiers in 4 weeks. I am so excited to go and complete the third training course for parents running Son-Rise Programs at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield, Massachusetts. We still have a small balance due for this course, due now, and quite frankly didn't know how we were going to pay it. Now, as you can imagine, this is not the first time in the past 7 years this has happened. We've sold cars, liquidated savings accounts, some retirement accounts, and generally lived on faith a lot. We have learned so much about trusting in the past 7 years. Things happen for a reason, and things that are meant to happen, will. So, this morning we were having our all too familiar conversation about how to make this last payment happen, and if we could. It wasn't looking good. So, as we often do at such an impasse, we went into financial crisis mode: what bills could we not pay? Which supplements/medications could Emma do without, so we could get me to New Frontiers? There weren't any easy answers.
Later in the morning, Chris informed me we had, in the last 24 hours, received donations totaling just the amount we need to pay for New Frontiers! How amazing! We are so deeply grateful for all who donated. Please know you have answered a prayer! When I return from New Frontiers around Thanksgiving, I will be sure to let you all know some of the things I have learned and how it will help Emma!
Well, a little over week has gone by since I last wrote. It's been an exciting one, and I wanted to share with you what has been going on! Well, we launched a Facebook Page, and in just a week, we have over 200 people who are fans of Emma's Dreams. It is so exciting, and so incredibly touching and helpful to know all those poeple are out here rooting for our girl!
I have to say, this past week has been a great one for Emma. She has done some amazing things that are so exciting to us. Emma has had a real break through with her eye contact. Eye contact, for those who may not know, is one's ability to connect with others by looking into their eyes when speaking and or requesting something. With most children with Autism, their ability to make eye contact is greatly impaired. This has definitely been a great challenge for Emma. She has always, in some circumstances, been able to give a small glance in the direction of a very familiar person. Occasionally she could do a little more. But when we really looked at what she was doing, we realized she hardly ever made eye contact. She was solidly in stage 1 of the 5 stage Son-Rise Developmental Model ™. So her goals have been for the past three months to make any eye contct at all when requesting or greeting people.
So last week, Emma invited her next worker to come on shift and myself to join her and her current worker in her playroom. They had made a "movie" using pictures on the wall. We were the audience and we sat quietly while Emma told the "Holloween Tale". Half way through I was crying tears of joy: Emma was performing the movie, and making sustained eye contact as she was speaking with ALL THREE OF US, checking back and forth just as any of us would do if we were speaking to three people. It was so natural and so amazing, and such a huge leap forward for Emma! She did this consistently for at least 4-5 minutes! The rest of the week was peppered with comments like," I couldn't believe it.. Emma turned all the way around and looked at me to tell me she needed to use the bathroom.... and she kept looking at me the whole time she was talking"! This is such a big milestone for her, because eye contact is the window to connection with others.
Thank you to everyone who is supporting Emma wth your donations, time, thoughts and prayers!
Ellen is a counselor, educator and Biomedical and Son-Rise mom extraordinaire. She has many years of experience in public, private, "typical " and special needs educational settings, as well as extensive training as an Option Process® Mentor Counselor through The Option Institute in Sheffield, Massachusetts, sister organization of the Autism Treatment Center of America
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