Success Story: William

william2William is a bright, social almost 5-year old boy with lots of energy and a big personality who enjoys playing with trucks, cars, and dinosaurs. He has made lots of friends among the students and staff at Jacob’s Ladder.

William started programming during the summer of 2014. He has worked incredibly hard over the past year and made some incredible strides. His first re-evaluation was in May 2015 and after taking the summer off to spend some quality time with family, he began his new program at the beginning of this school year.

William’s new program focuses is four-fold: to increase his sequential auditory and visual processing ability, build expressive communication by utilizing the Jacob’s Ladder Whole Brain Language Program, ensure proper brain organization through gross motor and cross-lateral activities, and to start introducing letters and numbers.

William began processing by working one-step directions that aim to build a neural pathway requiring him to take in information, process it, retrieve it, and give the appropriate output. After mastering 50 one-step directions, William began working a variety of auditory and visual processing activities consisting of 2 pieces of information. During the 2014-2015 school year, he increased his processing ability from working 2’s, through 3’s, and will soon begin bridging from 3’s to 4’s. Functionally, we are able to process amounts of information that correlate with our chronological age and increase our working amounts by 1 per year. William is right on target for a 4 year old. Previously, he didn’t have any imaginative play skills, due to difficulty processing 1-step directions. Now that he’s able to process at higher amounts, William’s imaginative play is emerging.

Another processing activity William has been working is “Do This,” which works visual processing and motor planning skills. William is asked to replicate a variety of multi-step motor planning sequences. William began with Do This 2’s, a series of 2 step actions, and is currently working on Do This 4’s. While this activity is at William’s challenge point due to the need to process 4 steps, he is able to retain them and is working on putting them in the correct order.

William has also made incredible progress with his language over the past year. His initial program included a spontaneous language log to record all of his independent verbalizations. Soon William was talking too much for us to be able to record it all! Now he walks down the hall and greets peers by name and is keeping his teachers and parents on their toes with all his original thoughts and questions.

William also began blending into our Learning Environment 1 (LE1) classroom at two strategic times throughout the day to work on language in a social setting. One of his first activities each morning is morning check-in, which is a time for all the students to discuss what the day of the week is, what the weather is like, and how they are feeling. William is doing a great job with learning how to interact with his peers.

Halfway through his day, William blends back into LE1 for Brain Gym, where a variety of gross motor and cross-lateral activities are done in a group setting. William enjoys spending the time with his peers and at the same time he is working activities that reinforce his program focus on cross-lateral movement.

During the re-evaluation, William had difficulty completing higher level coordination activities, including jumping jacks. But after blending into Brain Gym daily, he is already starting to show improvement with them.

William is now working on initial academics, beginning with receptive identification of uppercase letters and numbers 1-20. To help with letter recognition, he has a “Letter of the Day” and has begun building letters through Handwriting Without Tears.

William1William has also accomplished many milestones over the past few months. After struggling with potty training, and completing 2 weeks of the Jacob’s Ladder potty protocol, he is now completely potty trained and is sleeping through the night without any accidents. Also, this past spring William began playing soccer with a neuro-typical team. While he was sensitive to the shin guards and cleats initially, after putting them on and taking breaks to kick a soccer ball with his teachers, William was soon able to wear them without a problem.

We’re so proud of William for all his accomplishments and are looking forward to all the great things he will achieve in the next year!

Success Story: Cyon

Cyon first came to Jacob’s Ladder in July 2011. Prior to coming to Jacob’s Ladder, Cyon had been diagnosed with a variety of disorders, ranging from Cystic encephalomalacia (type of brain damage caused by softening of neurological tissue) and microcephaly (head smaller than same-age peers), to cerebral palsy and developmental delay. Concerns were also present regarding Cyon’s visual abilities, as he had ultimately been diagnosed with central macular vision impairment with strabismus in both eyes.

Cyon and a fellow student in the front lobby.

When we first met Cyon, his parents were looking for a place who would understand his unique abilities and help him learn. During the initial evaluation, he exhibited overall developmental delays, with significant delays in language and fine motor abilities. Cyon was also unable to visually track an object for any length of time. There were challenging moments of behavior that included intentional non-compliance of directions, purposefully falling to the floor, climbing, pinching, and hair grabbing.

After 4 years at Jacob’s Ladder, Cyon’s development has seen exponential growth! Cyon is now beginning to track objects at varying distances in environmentally functional and engaging ways, such as watching someone walk down the hall or tracking food during snack. He follows through on one-step directions and is able to independently navigate the school and visually discriminate between people and locations. He loves being a part of any conversation and when he hears his name mentioned, he smiles and his eyes will light up. There has also been an improvement in his independence; he is now carrying his own items down the hall and will help clean up after a meal or snack when verbally prompted. There has also been a significant increase in compliance in that Cyon now displays very little maladaptive behaviors.

Cyon has developed a special relationship with every teacher he’s had at Jacob’s Ladder.

Cyon with Ms. Evan, Ms. Megan, and Ms. Ericka.
For Halloween 2014, Cyon and Mr. Marion both dressed up as Superman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of Cyon’s favorite program activities is Familiar Faces Environmental Picture Matching. This activity requires him to be able to visually identify the face in the picture, find the person within his environment, walk up to them, and hand them the familiar face picture to close the loop. Here is Cyon working his familiar face picture with Ms. Allegra.

 

At our Teacher Work Day to close out the 2014-2015 school year, we asked Cyon’s mom to share a bit of their story. Here are some of the awesome things she had to say.

We are so incredibly proud of you Cyon! We are looking forward to another amazing school year.

Free Seminar This Thursday; New Services, The HOPE School, and An Overview of Our Methodology

The 2015 school year brings with it a lot of exciting changes; new therapeutic services, a new Buckhead campus, and the new HOPE School at our Roswell location. These, in addition to an overview of our methodology, will be highlighted tomorrow at our free seminar hosted by our founder, Amy O’Dell, at Jacob’s Ladder Roswell tomorrow, Thursday, July 16, at 7:00 PM.

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We are proud to announce that we will be increasing the involvement of our Licensed Service Professionals and will be offering direct therapy services starting this fall semester! Joining our hard-working team on a full time basis will be licensed occupational therapist, Kelly Cosner, licensed physical therapist, Katie Brown and contracting with Jacob’s Ladder on a part time basis will be licensed physical therapist, Pam Davidson. These services lend additional therapeutic value to the program and are available for any families that are interested.

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Amy will also be highlighting the opening of our Buckhead Campus which will be lead by Lead Clinician, Stacy Forrester. The Buckhead location is the only school within the Atlanta Perimeter offering services to children with a wide range of neurological challenges, and will be a convenient second location offered to families.

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The HOPE School will be another enrollment option available this year. Based in our Roswell campus, it utilizes a high-functioning, integrated, multi-modal approach to learning to help assimilate students into group settings. The HOPE School will focus on stabilizing emotional regulation and fostering growth of personal and social relationships. More information on the HOPE School will be given Thursday at the seminar.

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If you’d like to learn more, please join us at Jacob’s Ladder this Thursday, July 16 at 7:00 PM. Amy will review the Jacob’s Ladder methodology and go in-depth on the changes taking place this school year. Be sure to come out, learn and little, and meet some amazing people in the process . We look forward to seeing you there!

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Contact the Front Office at 770-998-1017 to RSVP.

Upcoming Atlanta Events

Jacob’s Ladder is committed to creating change in our students’ and families’ lives.

And we’re not the only ones in the great city of Atlanta working towards this goal; other organizations have opportunities for you to help out, and have fun doing it! Click below to see more information on the upcoming events in the Atlanta area, supporting everything from autism to healthcare! :)

July 11th– Sensations TheraFun Afternoon of Fun

July 18th– Pub Crawl for Autism

July 18th– Big Day In with The Golden Soldiers

July 18th– TACA Time at Get Air Trampoline Park

July 26th– Atlanta Braves with Autism Speaks

July 7th– Give Back Day at Marco’s Pizza. 15% of your sale benefit Children Healthcare of Atlanta!

August 29th– Autism Safety Fair

September 13th– NeuroMovement for Children with Special Needs Workshop

Can’t make it to any of these, but still looking to help out? No worries; there are ongoing volunteer activities in Atlanta you can participate in with your family.

 

More Than Just A Fluffy Friend: Why animal companionship is so important to the Jacob’s Ladder methodolog

They’re warm. Furry. Often slobbery.

They’re not just pets; animals offer a companionship that can accelerate a student’s development. Don’t take our word for it- the supporting research is extensive. Using animals in therapy has been shown across multiple studies to reduce a child’s anxiety and aggression while increasing their social interactions and empathy.

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Just last month the San Francisco Globe covered a story on a young boy, Caleb, who suffered traumatic brain injuries after a car wreck. Recovery was slow and gains were made few and far between- until Caleb was introduced to Colonel, a therapy dog. The change in Caleb’s approach to his therapy was immediate. In just a month, his family saw a completely different child. Think of that; a complete change was made in this student’s recovery, just by introducing a dog into his therapy.

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In fact, studies have shown that the effect can be so great that a child with autism who experiences a 58% level of cortisol (the “stress hormone”) upon waking alone will only experience a 10% cortisol level when a service dog is present. This is almost a 50% difference! When the dog was again taken away, the cortisol level shot back up to 48%.

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At Jacob’s Ladder we have our own dog, Corina, who periodically visits friends at the school. Our permanent residents include two donkeys, four goats, a coop of chickens, a guinea pig, and a handful of bunnies. People are often surprised to walk to the back of our school and see the mini-zoo that resides there.

Samson and Soddy

Everything has a purpose at Jacob’s Ladder. Our animals aren’t just impressive pets; they play a crucial part in our therapeutic methodology. Most students interact with the animals daily, some by feeding the animals as part of their daily chores, some by helping to walk the donkeys around outside, and others are just happy to take a break and watch the goats play together. The animals benefit from having a safe, happy home, and the students gain skills in responsibility and commitment.Animals

A pet can be a great idea to have at home, too, to help reduce anxiety and increase positive interactions with your child. Do your research beforehand though; a pet is a member of the family and a life-long commitment. Be sure to get a pet that suits your child’s needs- a loud bird might not be the best choice for a child who is easily startled by loud noises. Check out this webpage if you’d like to compare animals to see which may be the right choice for your family.

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Not in the market for another family member? From kittens to horses, multiple organizations in the Atlanta area are in constant need of volunteers to help with their animals. Some help is needed for only a few hours, while some pets needs short-term placement homes. It’s a great way to help out a good charity service while giving your child the opportunity to receive the many therapeutic benefits of animal companionship.

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Jacob’s Ladder SAIS-SACS Visit Report

Jacob’s Ladder is happy to announce that we have been approved for re-accreditation as a member of SAIS-SACS. To earn accreditation from SAIS, Jacob’s Ladder complied with quality standards, was evaluated by an outside group of peer professionals, and implemented a school plan focused on strategic improvement and student performance in accordance with the school’s mission which is:

We believe that every brain is capable of new growth and change.

No matter what the condition or diagnosis given we know that the brain can change based on the input and stimulation it receives.

Our job is to provide that intense interaction and stimulation – consistently and daily.

Our mission is to believe in the potential of each child who enters our doors, while readily and lovingly expressing that belief.

That is who we are.

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A team representing SAIS conducted an on-site visit to review this school’s self-study and standards compliance and its adherence to its mission.  The team was comprised of diverse educational leaders from some of the finest institutions in the southeast.  The visiting team sought the answers to critical questions the school asked of itself.

SAIS accredited member schools are part of an international network of accredited schools that have demonstrated success in educating children.  As such, SAIS accreditation is recognized throughout the world as a symbol of quality in education for students and teachers.

In today’s world of accountability in education, accreditation serves as a critical component of a school’s demonstrated effectiveness and ability to provide successful schooling for children.  A school that is able to achieve accreditation demonstrates a commitment to a process that requires the school to meet a set of rigorous standards; to engage in a program of continuous school improvement; and to demonstrate quality assurance to its stakeholders through self-evaluation and peer-review. SAIS accreditation provides schools access to an integrated network of services and technical assistance that supports every school’s ability to identify and meet its goals for improving the teaching and learning process and mission-focused outcomes for students.

SAIS began its organizational life in 1903 as the Mid-South Association of Independent Schools (MAIS).  In 1953, another organization began as the Southern Association of Independent Schools, providing a forum for independent school administrators to work with public schools through SACS and to contribute to the larger interest in accreditation in the Southeast.  MAIS and SAIS merged in 1986 to form the present-day SAIS, which now works at the state, regional, and national levels, to serve and strengthen member schools through the promotion of the highest quality educational standards and ethical conduct.  The mission of SAIS is to provide leadership, accreditation services, and professional development resources that will strengthen member schools as they fulfill their missions.

Here’s what our Visiting Team had to say about Jacob’s Ladder:

“Throughout the visit we were very impressed with the school’s openness, transparency, candor, and hospitality.”

“We met with parents, teachers, the leadership team, and the self study team, and all of these conversations highlighted the deep passion and LOVE for the school among its constituents.”

“We were struck by the culture of the school and by its passionate commitment to serving its students.”

“The sense of shared purpose and values present at the school was intense and powerful.

“At almost every turn, team members witnessed the school’s core values of HOPE. TRUTH. LOVE being embodied in the work of the school and in the lives of its faculty and staff.”

“Jacob’s Ladder is an unique, highly effective, independent school with a powerful and very well-executed mission and core values that serve as the foundation for its work with children”

Read the full Visit Report here!


Jacob’s Ladder is an SAIS-SACS accredited, SB-10 approved private school, serving students Pre-K through twelfth grade with any kind of neurological disorder – from Down syndromeCerebral Palsy and Brain Injury to a range of learning disabilities and genetic disorders – although 60% of our students have been diagnosed with Autism. We offer adult services for stroke patients, and we also offer the Jacob’s Ladder Model of Intervention in our Therapy Center on an hourly basis.

Grounded in science, guided by love, and delivered with an unwavering commitment to see beyond diagnoses, our intensive, individualized, research-based approach works.

Jacob’s Ladder students regularly reach milestones once thought impossible. On a daily basis, we see nonverbal children grasp language, autistic children establish eye contact, and children who have struggled to learn take steps toward academic achievement.

Jacob’s Ladder is now serving the BUCKHEAD Community!

Come see and feel where HOPE resides.

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Featured Blog – Everlasting Choice: When Out of Control is the Right Place to Be

Yancey Snavely, writer of Everlasting Choice, recently completed an interview with one of our Jacob’s Ladder Families. Read the article below or click here

When Out of Control is the Right Place to Be

It’s a balmy Saturday afternoon as I pull up in front of their charming home. The sun’s radiance magically highlights the soft green grass of the extensive lawn. As I notice the toys and sports gear, I imagine that this field has held many a ball game. Approaching the walkway with anticipation, I am barely able to contain my enthusiasm, for I am one lucky lady to be interviewing this family today. To anyone who knows them, the Wyatts are inspirational and that is why I’m here. I am welcomed at the door by Harold, handsome, gentle-natured and confident, as their chestnut-colored English Cocker leaps with delight at my arrival. A buoyant energy fills this place, and I notice it immediately as I enter. Harold’s wife, Lisa, a tiny little thing but with an extraordinary spunk and determination, comes around the corner with arms open as she flashes her gracious smile. She has a delicate beauty combined with an authentic fearlessness and strength. They are the kind of couple who make others feel welcome, appreciated, and accepted. Harold and I take a seat as Lisa finishes up preparing dinner to put in the oven. While all are getting settled, I get to sit back as a spectator in this sanctuary. I watch as neighborhood kids dart in and out of the house. I listen to the sounds of their two boys, twelve-year-old Harold and ten-year-old Russell, cavorting upstairs with their friends. I gaze at their beautiful, eight-year-old daughter, Mae, relaxing on the sofa as she plays games on her mother’s tablet. At one point, two youngsters come to the front door in search of Lisa, who apparently wears the crown on the street for pulling teeth. But the tooth fairy may have to wait tonight, as Harold politely asks them to come back tomorrow. Then a neighbor calls on the phone looking for his missing child. I giggle as I witness all this, as it seems everyone, not just me, wants to be in the Wyatt home today. I get the feeling that this is just the way it is in this house. And as we all finally gather together for our chat, I find it interesting that Harold and Lisa almost wonder why I’ve come to interview them. Amazed at this, I surmise that they just must not know, in their evident humility, their incredible impact on others. How they are an example of faith, perseverance, surrender and leadership. To view them today, you may think that they are just a regular American family. But that is not the case, because the Wyatts are so much more than that.

Fifteen years ago, Harold and Lisa were married and looked forward to beginning their lives together. As any young couple, they made plans to start a family and pursue career opportunities. Within a few years, their first son Harold IV was born, and their second son, Russell, arrived two years later. Big Harold had begun his career in commercial real estate investments, and eventually started his own company, Wyatt Capital. Life was good and the couple felt tremendously blessed. When Lisa became pregnant with their third child, Mae, they were thrilled and felt that life was going along as planned. But things seemed to change during this third pregnancy. Her first two had been quite routine. The boys were both big and their growth was normal, but with this pregnancy something seemed a little different. The baby wasn’t growing and Lisa was put on bed rest, but they were not given cause for alarm. At birth, Mae weighed three pounds less than their boys had been and also had trouble nursing. At the time, the Wyatts did not think not much of it, as they already had their hands full with the boys. “There was nothing out of the ordinary,” Lisa remembers, “she just wasn’t a great eater.” But when the pediatrician noticed that Mae was “failing to thrive,” not gaining weight, and not hitting milestones, the Wyatts realized that something might be wrong. They also remember that Mae never cried. Thinking that this was a blessing at the time, as they look back they realize that it was cause for concern. Another significant clue was when Mae was diagnosed with congestive tear duct issues at six months old, and they had to admit that this was unusual.

Over the next few years, they noticed various issues with her growth and lack of development. They visited doctors and specialists who conducted a litany of tests and performed many procedures, but these unfortunately did not lead to any real answers. Much of the time the process was simply ruling out what Mae did not have and they were repeatedly told to “wait and see” what happens. This process was an arduous one that took great patience. Much of their lives were filled with managing their worry and concern. The visits to specialists and the many tests lasted for years. Mae had five MRIs and even had a procedure where they took muscle from her thigh and sent it off to be tested in a special lab, only to hear nine months later that the results were “inconclusive.” Lisa and Harold remember being frustrated to not have a clear diagnosis for their child. There was something wrong with her and no one could give them any answers. What would her future hold? What would be her limitations? Harold and Lisa lived each day without knowing these answers and it was a challenge. Lisa remembers, “Our lives got edited,” and Harold adds that it “completely removed any inkling that we had control over what was happening.”

 

Have you ever had a situation in your life, my friend, that made you feel this way? You have expectations for your future and things just haven’t seemed to go accordingly? You’ve been hit with an unexpected curve ball in your career, health, finances, or relationships and you can barely catch your breath to handle it. The control you thought you had over your life seems to be slipping away. This control is an important thing to many of us, isn’t it? We seek control because we believe it gives us power, direction, and purpose in our lives. But is this actually true? When we don’t know the future, when the worries and concerns overtake us, when our circumstances change, we clamor to control in an effort to feel better or cope more easily. But often times, no matter how hard we try, no matter how tight the grip, this control still slips away. What do we do then?

For many years, the Wyatts continued on with very few answers concerning Mae, and their day to day lives were quite challenging in their care for her. After countless visits to doctors and specialists, ruling out various conditions, dealing with insurance companies and completing miles of paperwork, Lisa and Harold had to be content with a “working diagnosis” for their daughter. The doctors were fairly certain that she had a mitochondrial metabolic condition, and this realization completely changed the trajectory of their lives.

I asked Lisa how she handled this time. She says that she relied on scripture to carry her through it. She took pages of Bible verses around with her everywhere she went, pulling them out in waiting rooms and carpool lines. “They were so tattered and dirty,” Lisa says, “I relied on them so much.” Having no control over the future, while also feeling so limited in the knowledge of what they were actually dealing with concerning Mae, Lisa found comfort in the Word of God and received strength through trusting and believing in her Heavenly Father’s love and provision. I also asked Lisa what the day to day life is like with Mae and she says that it is like having an eternal baby. “Whatever we do for Mae,” Lisa explains, “even though now she is almost nine, it is as if she is a two year old: changing diapers, bathing, feeding, carrying her, getting up in the middle of the night.” She adds, “It never goes away. I’m never going to outgrow this phase.”

 

Anyone who knows the Wyatts knows that they do not complain. They do not feel sorry for themselves or feel like victims in any way, but the life they live is not an easy one. It would be understandable for them to feel that they had been dealt a bad hand. That somehow this life they must lead simply isn’t fair. But the Wyatt’s do not view it that way. Harold explains, “Once it became apparent that she was a special needs child, we may quietly feel sad sometimes, but we do not believe in the productivity of feeling sorry for ourselves. We weren’t expecting this…but it dawned on us early on, if a special needs child would be born into a family, this is as good a family as any to have been born into.” And Lisa adds, “I know God is in control. I’m sharing an experience as a mother with her, but He has her, whatever she is. He has us covered. We are just entrusted with her in this little point in time.”

Often times we move through life on a plan we set for ourselves in high school, college, or in our early careers. We can find ourselves operating as if we are on cruise control. Then something happens. Adversity strikes. The unforeseen occurs. Many of us choose to respond with a “take control” attitude. As a result, we may become distracted trying to control our lives, our circumstances, and those closest to us. But what if our Heavenly Father desires for us to give in to the reality of our life, including our adversities, and simply trust that He will take care of us?  What if we spent that same energy seeking to believe and have faith? So often, it is this surrender that changes everything. The giving inleads to the pouring in of God’s loving presence that we have kept at arm’s length. But so many of us think we must go it alone – to earn our keep, pave our own way without seeking God’s direction. But what are we actually searching for? Is it really a change in our circumstances or could it be that we truly desire peace within these circumstances? If we simply let Him lead and believe that He is for us, we can see all the good He has planned and experience this peace. The Bible says,

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

As Mae grew older, the Wyatts realized the public school system was not a long-term solution for her, so they would need to make other arrangements. Lisa knew there were schools for learning disabilities, processing challenges, behavioral problems but they weren’t aware of a school that could help kids like Mae, with physical disabilities and neurological issues. They wanted to educate her, challenge her, encourage her, and help her grow. With this knowledge, although quite daunting, the Wyatts believed they knew what they had to do. They decided to start a school for Mae themselves. Harold says, “It’s an assignment that you didn’t ask for, or maybe you did ask for it…but how do you start a school, let alone a special needs school?” It is this path, presented by God, that carried them forward on their journey. Once again, they didn’t have all the answers, yet they stepped out on faith.

Are you, dear reader, willing to step out on faith as you navigate through the challenges in your life? While the Wyatts could have become discouraged and fearful as they gazed into the future, instead they clung to the promises of God and believed that He would guide them. They let Him have control of their future, but were willing to take the steps toward positive change. They believed that God was with them in their journey and trusted that He would show them the way.  Do you, my friend, believe that God will help you? And do you trust that Your Heavenly Father is for you and will show you the way? The Bible says,

“Then He got into the boat and His disciples followed Him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”       (Matthew 8: 23-26)

God has a plan for every life. He is a personal God who knows you intimately and loves you immensely. He is not going to leave you when times are hard. He is not looking the other way when you are struggling. What He desires of you, as His treasured child, is faith. The faith that He can work all things together for good. The faith that He has plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. No matter how strong the wind or how steep the waves, your God is right there in the midst of the storm. He can do anything in our lives, as long as we believe He can and we invite Him in, giving up the control and trusting in His goodness.

When doing their research in this incredible undertaking, the Wyatts were encouraged to go visit a place called Jacob’s Ladder, a Neurodevelopmental School and Therapy Center in Roswell, Georgia. Its founder and executive director, a woman named Amy O’Dell, is described by Lisa as being a “maverick and a sweetheart.” Jacob’s Ladder was founded in 1998, after O’Dell’s son, Jacob, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Delay at 18 months old. As Harold and Lisa toured the school, they felt like they were walking through the headquarters of Google or Apple. The employees were all young, vibrant, joyful, educated. “They meet children right where they are…with a one on one facilitation with the students…they really are accomplishing miracles,” the Wyatts say.

The Wyatts soon learned all about this incredible place and the methodology behind what O’Dell and her team had been achieving within. From their website, “Jacob’s Ladder’s brain based methodology creates a unique educational environment for students facing issues related to Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury, PDD, Autism, and other Learning Delays…Grounded in science, guided by love, and delivered with an unwavering commitment to see beyond diagnoses, our intensive, individualized, research-based approach works. Jacob’s Ladder’s students regularly reach milestones once thought impossible. On a daily basis, we see nonverbal children grasp language, autistic children establish eye contact and children who have struggled to learn take steps toward academic achievement.” www.jacobsladdercenter.com

When the Wyatts left Jacob’s Ladder that day, they realized they didn’t need to start a new special needs school. They needed to bring Jacob’s Ladder to their own neighborhood! It also became apparent that this was a lot bigger than Mae. Maybe the assignment wasn’t just about their child, but other children, too.  To their delight, O’Dell was interested in partnering with them to expand her current school to the Atlanta / Buckhead area, and the timing just felt right for everyone. Being in commercial real estate, Harold was concerned about finding an affordable piece of land in this expensive part of town. But before they could even start looking, O’Dell called them with some incredible news. Northwest Presbyterian Church had approached her, as they had eight extra acres, and offered to lease their property to her if she would open a school there. They said that instead of selling the property, they wanted to use it as a ministry to serve God. The church was interested in staffing special needs Sunday school classes, as the Pastor’s wife is in Special Education. This was a match made in heaven! The Wyatts were overwhelmed. “God’s hand was all over this school!” Lisa exclaims.

They have attained the city permit and will start construction in June 2015, with hopes to open the facility in September. The Wyatts are thrilled that they will have a special school for their daughter, but realize that God had a greater plan than just Mae. He had great plans for many families. Harold and Lisa want to use their gifts and resources to facilitate long range planning, comprehensive fund raising and the establishing of an endowment program for Jacob’s Ladder in Atlanta. They look forward to helping it grow and expand and thrive. Lisa says, “We’ve always known that something good is going to come out of this. This is just our life.”

Do you believe that something good could come out of your present circumstances? Do you seek to find God in your life right now? Could the Wyatt’s realization that they were no longer in control, and their subsequent positive choices, being led by God, have placed them in the perfect location at the perfect time in such a way that their experience, work, connections, and influence now have a grand impact on dozens, if not hundreds of lives? The Bible often teaches us that God’s love and righteousness are all powerful. He often chooses the least to do the greatest. Maybe what many would view as “unfair” or an incredible burden in Mae’s diagnosis is instead a glorious blessing of which the Wyatts embraced.

But what if the Wyatts had chosen a different path? What if they became bitter, angry, resentful? What if they let Mae’s diagnosis cause strife in their home, infighting amongst each other? What if they disengaged from their child’s life altogether? And yet, there I was sitting in their happy home, filled with love, friendship, and peace. Why? Because they allowed God to lead. Because theygave up control.

What is happening in your life, my friend? What are you controlling? Could you be ignoring God’s hidden blessings? Perhaps the adversity you may be experiencing is a pathway to your Lord and Savior. A path that leads to an intersection with others where your talents and gifts are fully embraced. Much like the Wyatts’ realization that they needn’t pursue the path to organize, construct and manage a school and instead could contribute their gifts to something already in place, could you, too, allow God to lead and let go of control? In our times of adversity, it is normal for us to grasp to our own understanding and seek to control with our own efforts. But once we realize that by choosing God, our striving ceases, our fear subsides, while God’s hope and love bloom within us; we will finally be able to step into the life He desires for us. A life out of our control and in His…which is just the right place to be.

 

Please visit Jacob’s Journey for more on Amy O’Dell and Jacob’s story

HOPE–an expectant cherished trust in the power of transformation

Jacob’s Ladder defines HOPE as an expectant, cherished trust in the power of transformation.4

Below is a note from a family that moved to Roswell, GA from California a week ago…


Hi Amy,

I wanted to share something with you. Three years ago, I gave up on Western Medicine and made it my priority to get Connor well. I need to see my son walk and hear him talk, and I will continue to do everything in my power for that to happen. I have always believed he was in there, and in a lot of areas, we have been successful in helping him. When Emily told me about Jacob’s Ladder, I prayed hard for a tangible sign to know if this was the place for him, something that I could see, visibly. When I walked in the first day to meet with you and tour the school, the first thing I saw was the shirt framed behind the couch at the front door:

HOPE, in baby blue.

Kyla Daisy

 

Three years ago, I started a walk for Connor to fundraise for all his therapy needs and the shirts I had made were baby blue, with HOPE written across the front. Connor DThat is my favorite word, and I’ve been making the same shirts every year. I got my sign, relied on faith, and decided to sign him up. 

Connor D 1After one week, I’ve seen enough progress to match up my logic with my faith.

I want to thank you for doing what you do. I have never been to a place with a more loving, kind, amazing staff like you have at your school, and I am so grateful for this opportunity for my son.

Hide & Seek Art in The Park This Saturday!

HS LogoWhat’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? It probably includes enjoying the spring sunshine, spending quality time with family and friends, good food and fun activities and exploring the joys of your community!Amy Love One Another

What if I were to tell you you could do all these things and support your community at the same time? When, you ask?

This Saturday, May 2nd, Jacob’s Ladder Neurodevelopmental School and Therapy Center is partnering with Roswell Recreation and Parks to celebrate the third annual Hide and Seek Art in the Park event. Throughout the school year students from Jacob’s Ladder have been creating various pieces of artwork which will be hidden throughout the park. Attached to each piece will be a note with Hide and Seek Art’s social media information. Members of the community who find the art are encouraged to take it home, give it a nice cozy spot to sit, and link a photo online to your find with a “tag” to Hide and Seek Art.

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In addition this year will also host the first-ever Resource Fair, highlighting a variety of local activities and services from pottery-making and art workshops to therapy and transitional life services.

Not to mention the other free, family-fun activities that will be offered, such as:

  • IMG_1255Hula hooping
  • Raffle prizes
  • Survival skills lessons
  • And relay races for the kids organized by volunteers from the Roswell High football team

 

Want to know how you can be a part of this amazing celebration?

flyerJoin us this Saturday, May 2nd, in the Roswell Area Park and Visual Arts Center. Opening ceremonies will take place at 10:00 AM and the fun will last until 2:00 PM. Noteworthy events taking place throughout the day include:

  • 10:00- IMG_1425Opening Ceremonies
  • 11:00- Drum Circle 1
  • 11:00-2:00- Lunch with Roswell local eatery Roux (a portion of all profits will be donated to Jacob’s Ladder)
  • 12:00- Drum Circle 2
  • 12:00-2:00- Balloon art with Tyler Riberdy
  • 1:30- Closing Ceremonies and Raffle Drawing

The goal of this event and partnership is to develop and strengthen the ties between Jacob’s Ladder and its community through our ideals of HOPE. TRUTH. LOVE. A big part of this is done with you- the members of our community! We are excited to have you participate, and can’t wait to see you there!HTL Store  Logo

You can spread the HOPE.TRUTH.LOVE by purchasing art made from our community members in our HOPE. TRUTH. LOVE Store!

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We’d also like to take a moment to give a big shout-out to various businesses that are participating in some way with the event. Thank you so much for your continued support of our school and your community!

A HUGE thank you to:

– YMCA Alpharetta
– The George Center
– Fresh Start for the Mind
– Arbonne
– Melissa Gauna, nutritionist coach
– Kona Ice
– Wonderland Pediatric Dentistry
– Hearts & Hands Therapy
– Roux on Canton
– Young Living
– Brightstone Transitions
– Cobblestone Therapy
– Keith Ambersley, author
– Learning Rx
– Unique Therapy Services
– Roswell Yoga Life
– Nick Rhodes, photographer
– Perspectives Center for Holistic Therapy
– GSU Research Lab
– Therapyland
– Tyler Riberdy, balloon artist

We HOPE to HIDE and SEEK with YOU this Saturday from 10-2!