My youngest son, David, was diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder) when he was 8 years old. He was in pretty bad shape at the time; he was rocking and biting himself, he had a very limited vocabulary and could not speak in sentences, he was having night terrors and he was depressed, and he was functioning academically at about a Kindergarten level. I met Jan Bedell when David was about 10 years old and we began working on the Little Giant Steps program and the process of recreating David into what I believe God intended.Today, David is a happy, well-adjusted, independent 21 year-old and a shining light among his co-workers, community and church family. David is very active in our church. He has struggled for years with both expressive and receptive language delays but now he is leading public prayers and leading singing. The only medication he is taking is for his allergies, no anti-depressants. He is working full-time for the Garland ISD maintenance department and he loves his job! He has been driving for about 2 years and about a year ago, he purchased a used truck (with cash). He takes care of all the upkeep, maintenance, insurance, etc. for his truck; he makes his own breakfast and lunch every day, he keeps up with his laundry and buys new clothes and anything else he needs. He is still living at home but he is very independent and we are hopeful that he will be able to live on his own in a few years.
We have worked with David using the Neurodevelopmental Approach off and on for about 10 years now. We did 2 years of program with him when we first met Jan; then we took about a 4 year break. Then, Jan would receive some training in a certain area and we would try out her newly required skills on David from time to time (and David would take another giant leap in development!)
About a year ago, we started David on yet another program, doing all of the new cross-pattern activities that Jan had recently been trained on. David was very faithful with his program for about 10 months. After just the first 2 months, we, along with his job coach at the time, began seeing some improvements in David’s language skills; one of the last hurtles for David. He was picking up things off of the TV and from sermons that he had never picked up on before and he was also able to express his feelings to us for the first time.
Recently, on Mother’s Day, my 21 year-old “disabled” son, whom a pediatric neurologist once told me would never graduate from high school, never hold down a job, never drive and never live on his own…wrote me the sweetest Mother’s Day note. Here it is…
Thanks for taking care of me through the years. Ephesians 6:1 says, ‘Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.’ I completed that mission. You inspired me to do the right thing. You showed me how to express my feelings. You helped me not to get mad at certain people. You showed me how to love.
Thanks so much for all you do. I love you, mom!
Your Son, David Thompson”
My husband later told me that David came up with the words he wanted to say and typed it up on the computer and all my husband did was help him spell a few words. When I asked David how I helped him to express his feelings and not get mad, he said it was because of the “therapy” (floor exercises) that I made him do last year. These floor activities stimulated the pons area of David’s brain, and David understands that these activities helped him to get in touch with his feelings and to be able to express his feelings, as well as control them.
I thank God every time I look at David that He lead us to Little Giant Steps.