Mark is a delightful, 13 year old boy with a wonderful sense of humor. He’s a big country music fan and loves to sing along with the karaoke machine.
But because Mark copes with autism and bipolar disorder, he has to work much harder to do everyday things that come easily to most children.
About four years ago, Mark’s behavior grew increasingly aggressive and destructive. He refused to cooperate with teachers and family. He punched walls with his fists, broke furniture and was physically violent.
“We were so worried for his safety,” Mark’s mother, Joanne, explains. “We love Mark so much, but we just couldn’t provide the care he needed at home any longer. We knew we needed help for him.”
Initially, Mark spent a year in a psychiatric hospital where his condition stabilized. But his mother and father dreamed of more for their son’s life. “We felt he was missing out on critical years of learning,” Joanne says. “We wanted him to develop friendships with other children and to live every day to the fullest.”
Mark’s parents knew they needed expert medical help, and a unique educational and residential setting that would be able to keep their son safe and address his very special developmental needs. They desperately needed a solution.
And then they found Hope.
Hope’s doctors and therapists went right to work, adjusting Mark’s medications and creating a behavioral modification plan that rewards him for positive actions, so he no longer feels the need to lash out for attention.
In fact, Mark’s behavior improved so quickly that he moved from Hope’s campus to a community group home, where he’s learning essential independent living skills.
Today, Mark is a happy, outgoing boy who loves learning. His teachers say he’s making great progress in telling time and understanding the meaning of safety signs. And Mark’s social skills have grown tremendously. He chats and plays patiently with friends and classmates. He loves to greet classroom visitors with a smile and a big “Hello!” He’s finally growing, learning and loving life.
Since 1957, The Hope Institute has provided state of the art educational, residential and medical services for children like Mark who struggle with developmental disabilities, autism and mental illness.
Mark’s story is just one example of the many hopeful futures you provide children with disabilities through your generous support of The Hope Institute.
Mark, and all of us here at The Hope Institute, thank you for bringing Hope into their young lives.