Monday, June 20, 2011

Hocus Pocus?

One of the hardest things for me, and everyone around me, to grasp is when Aviana does her choice board.  When I first laid eyes on this piece of paper, I took one look at my severely brain damaged child, and way, no possible way!

Maybe for that autistic child over there, or that one who is developmentally delayed, but miles ahead of my Aviana, but definitely not for my brutally hurt child. I am just being completely honest here. I actually hungered to believe it was true, or possible, but at first, my skeptical, logical, rational mind had a way of keeping me at bay. I realized I had way too low of expectations, and was void of any brain injury related knowledge, to know any better. I thought these people were crazy, but not so...quite the opposite.

I know for all those in the special needs community, this is nothing new, and you may know exactly what I am talking about. Or, you may have caught that one truly amazing story on 20/20 and it made you think otherwise. But for me, prior to being a hurt child's mom, I was a well child's mom. I felt comfortable with how I grew up, what I had learned, and when, and the timeline in which Aviana was advancing, learning, and achieving.

When you first arrive at The Institute's, you quickly realize what the full potential of your child really is. It is quite staggering to see children, especially hurt children accomplishing things you never thought humanly possible. I have seen hurt children comprehend up to four different languages. I have seen very young kids speed read Physics books in a matter of minutes, of which they had never seen before. I have witnessed hurt children doing the most advanced math at the youngest of ages, etc.

I just couldn't believe it. I don't talk about some things in great detail on here, not because I don't believe in it, but because my non- hurt child parenting reminds me of how outlandish some of this may seem. To be honest, it actually makes perfect sense based on the small percentage of brain we actually use, coupled with the fact that we tend not to push ourselves fully, until we learn better, or usually until we have to.  I have learned that I had not a clue as to how much a child, hurt or not, is fully capable of. It is outrageous to me!

I used to see those "Teach Your Baby to Read" commercials on TV, and my naive brain just didn't get it. If you told me at the time of my quick glance, and sideways smile, that I would soon be teaching my hurt, brain inured child to read, I would never have believed it. I have poured my heart and soul into her intelligence program, and boy has it paid off.  

I would have looked at a hurt child and their loving parent prior, and felt they might be wasting their precious time, as maybe the child just isn't fully there.  Not because I am a jerk, but simply because I didn't know any better. I know people are thinking the very same thing of me, and I completely understand why :o) Behind their half smile, they might be thinking, "Okay Jen, I think you ought to put down the bottle, or lay off the pipe, you've gone quite a bit off the deep end!" But no, they politely sit, watch, and sweetly ask questions :o) I have the best people surrounding me, I must admit!!

The Institute, and Aviana have proved me wrong time, and again. At first, I thought it was magic, or just plain cheating in some way, but I have realized there is no sleight of hand here. These kids are truly mind-blowing!!

I am going to tell you, what I think, is one of the most amazing stories ever. I went on for too long, but will be back shortly with some great stuff! 

I promise.


  1. Jen,
    I found your blog through Kelly's Korner and just can't stop thinking about Aviani, you and Dave. I have been praying for you because that is all I can do to help. I have 2 children who are adopted and one was almost adopted from Guatemala, but the program closed. I am also a special education teacher so your last post was of interest to me. Where did you go in PA this past week (I live in PA)? You and Dave are doing a great job with Aviana and she is beautiful!

  2. What? Don't leave me hanging!!!
    Can't wait to hear the amazing story!!!

  3. ahhhhh suspense. *drums fingers expectantly*

  4. awwww i KNOW avianna is AMAZING!!!! (and all those other children learning through the institute) ....their bodies might not be connecting to their hurt/recovering brains the way they used to......BUT of this know it's true......they are finding NEW connections that will work just as good if not better than the original ones.....

    and locked inside of these little bodies just WAITING for the key to unlock the doors is a super intelligent supremely aware young mind....revving it's engines & waiting for the green flag!