Brandon was born in July of 2007. I had a healthy pregnancy until the 36th week when we were told that Brandon had not grown from the 32nd week. I was induced the next day, but we were assured he was okay. Upon birth, he needed oxygen therapy, and he was taken to the NICU where he aspirated his feeds. He also needed emergency surgery because his digestive system wasn’t fully formed. We were told that even with these complications, he should be fine. We requested therapy in the NICU and a baseline MRI, which was normal. At one year, after minimal progress, a repeat MRI showed he had a loss of white matter due to an unknown reason. He has had blood work, x-rays, specialists, therapists, and surgeries over his short five years. He now has a general diagnosis of encephalopathy, primarily an unknown brain disorder, and an unconfirmed mitochondrial disorder.
The hardest part has been deciding whether to keep pushing Brandon or to let him be. We have had great therapists who worked with Brandon, but we saw minimal improvement, and it seemed like his goals at one year old, were his same goals at four years old. He is happy and loving, and he has wants and needs, so we figured we were doing our part by getting him services, and that was the best we could do. We then met a friend, and she has a son that participates in conductive education. She started a foundation with the purpose of educating families about conductive education and the possibilities it opens up for children who are differently abled. Her foundation offered to sponsor us to go to CECO for their summer camp. We were unsure at first because, living in San Antonio, Texas, it was a significant commitment, but we thought if this is what was best for Brandon, he deserved the chance to try it.
CECO was AMAZING! After the first week, we were trying to stay for the second session. It was incredible to see Brandon learning at such a fast pace. Initially, our goal was for him to maneuver his wheelchair better, but his conductor told us she believed he could learn to walk and he needed less support. She took the support off his Mini-Pacer and by the last week he was walking, with assistance, pushing a slider! CECO and conductive education brought our hope and drive back that for Brandon it IS possible! We are excited for Brandon to continue attending summer camp!