The following is an excerpt from an email written by Sibel, whose son Erol is a student at Heartspring. Sibel is originally from Turkey, but now lives in New Jersey. Despite a language barrier, Sibel’s gratitude for Heartspring is evident.
Erol was diagnosed Autistic when he was four, he is (a) non-verbal, smart boy. When he turned to 10, he started to have aggressive behaviors and self injuries (such as) head banging. The special school that he was attending in his home town could not keep him anymore. Even (another program) did not keep him more than eight months, his behaviors were getting worse, our life was a nightmare, we had to separate him from his younger brother, had to protect him from self injuries, take him (to the) ER almost every other day. I had to leave my job and watch Erol 24 hours (a day). Even his father, who is a medical doctor, could not help him. It was so frustrating! Finally, one of the schools recommended Heartspring, my first reaction was how could we send him so far, but we did not have a choice, we were loosing him. Three years ago Erol started to Heartspring, the first year he made alot of progress, his behaviors decreased. He had (an) individualized education plan which is customized to his needs, he had two staff working intensively with him. Very structur(ed) school and home coordination led Erol’s condition (to get) better and better. We were getting daily information about Erol, we were visiting him every three months.
Erol is 16 years old now and this (is) his 3rd year in Heartspring, he learned how to use a computer, ride on a bicycle, roll(er) blade, swim (at the) YMCA, and (has) great communication with his picture book. We’re having a great time with Erol every time we visit him, or when he comes home for holidays. (W)e (are) able to take him out for shopping, movies, (to) restaurants…We would like to thank all the staff who works hard with Erol, (the) friendly administration, caring nurses, professional teachers, doctors (and) therapists. We got back our son, Erol is more independent now. (H)e came to Heartspring with a helmet, (but) he doesn’t need it anymore and (more importantly) he is one happy boy that enjoys life. Yes, it was a big decision to send Erol that far away, but seeing his improvements everyday made us forget all the miles.*
* This email is reprinted with Sibel’s permission.