For many years, Charlotte and her husband, Shawn, have home-schooled their children. When their daughter Libby, who has Asperger syndrome, was eight-years-old, they became troubled that she was not performing at the same level as students her own age, and they didn't feel that they had enough resources to help her thrive.
The family turned to Easter Seals Midwest for guidance and support, and they were glad they reached out when they did.
“The resources that Easter Seals Midwest was able to provide have helped me to develop a curriculum to ensure Libby’s education meets her needs,” says Charlotte. “I cannot imagine continuing to home-school my children without the tools we were given to overcome the challenges that arise with autism.”
Charlotte and Shawn attended Easter Seals Midwest's intensive, two-week Parent Training Program for those impacted by autism and found that it lived up to its reputation of being life-changing. The family has also received in-home visits and periodic refresher courses when challenges have arisen.
In addition, because Libby enjoys music, music therapy has really been a source of refuge for her. She has overcome obstacles that would be challenging for anyone and continues to thrive. Libby also attends the youth social skills group, which has heightened her awareness of her own diagnosis, allowing her to become comfortable with who she is in an atmosphere where she continues to gain self-confidence.
“I watch the sessions from time to time,” says Charlotte. “I am always impressed by how far she has come from one session to another. She seems so relaxed now and so confident.”
Charlotte also notes that she feels very blessed that through Libby’s diagnosis, her other children, including Libby's little brother Jefferson, have learned how to accept everyone for their abilities, and they have an increased awareness of developmental disabilities overall. “The whole family continues to learn and grow as Libby does,” states Charlotte. “We are beginning to gain understanding as to why she reacts as she does, what triggers episodes and how to help her regroup if meltdowns happen.”
When asked of one of her favorite reasons to continue working with Easter Seals Midwest and suggest others with similar needs do the same, Charlotte exclaims, “Because they include Jefferson! He’s not a client, but if he wants to be a part of the music therapy session for a bit, the staff welcomes him with open arms. Easter Seals Midwest has become family to us.
“Megan and Michelle have been godsends,” exudes Charlotte of two of the therapists with whom her family has worked. “Libby has such a great relationship with Megan, and nothing is out of reach. Libby really leaned on Megan when we lost our family dog, and Megan helped her understand the loss and get through it.
“We are so pleased that Easter Seals Midwest works with us to meet Libby’s needs,” says Charlotte. “Their assistance has brought a sense of normalcy to our entire family, better equipping us to handle and accept situations, and has provided so many opportunities that we wouldn’t even have known were available to our family.”
Jefferson, Libby's little brother, was our Snowflake Art Contest winner in the 6-10 age group with "Olaf in the Snow":