Leo's Son-Rise Program Fund

Click on Leo's picture to watch the video with our story :)

Welcome to Leo's World and our Son-Rise Program Journey! Recovery from Autism is an option! Here is our story:

In October 2008 we had a amazing little boy named Leo. We had a great pregnancy and a beautiful birth. The day we finally met was magical. The colors of the world literally changed. The world was more beautiful and brighter. My heart was filled with the most incredible love I've ever felt in my life. Our little boy was strong and healthy, but by 18 months, my heart knew something was wrong. Leo had lost all his words and was no longer interested in the world around him.

Leo spent most of his time flipping pages of magazines and books, spinning objects, lining up toys and spinning in circles. I saw kids his age very engaged with their mommies, but not my Leo. He liked to spend most of his time alone. I thought maybe he was just a very independent little boy. The pediatrician said all kids develop differently and was not concerned. But one day, while making dinner, I heard Leo crying quietly in the living room. I came to find him sitting on the floor shaking. I kept asking him what happened but he couldn't tell me. I tried everything I knew to calm him down but he cried in agony as if he was in a lot of pain. I tried to get him to stand up but he couldn't bear weight on one of his legs. I decided to take him to the ER.

As I got there clinicians asked me the reason for bringing him in. I explained I though he hurt his leg. They asked me what happened but I couldn't tell them. Leo didn't talk, I didn't hear any noises and it happened so fast. He was always in his little world and mostly unresponsive to us. An x-ray confirmed Leo had a hairline fracture on his tibia. At that time I had to face the reality that Leo had lost his voice. He didn't call me "mommy" and sometimes didn't even notice I was in the room. In January 2011, at 27 months, Leo was diagnosed with regressive Autism. We finally had a label to what we were experiencing. We were told there was no hope for recovery or even for a conversation with our son. We would have to teach him to "fit in" into a world that didn't make sense to him.

We were in shock. Who was to say what Leo was capable of? So, we chose to believe recovery was an option. We started therapy and biomedical treatment. We discovered Leo not only had developmental delays but also several allergies and gastrointestinal problems. It was clear to us Leo's body needed medical attention to recover and his brain needed rehabilitation. We started seeing some improvement with the treatment and therapies but the progress was slow. Leo was still not interested in connecting. Not only that but when we finally had speech it was rote and "robotic".

It was in May 2012 that we discovered the Son-Rise program. Son-Rise is a child led program that recognizes kids with Autism have a social-relational deficit that can be overcome. It uses acceptance and a non-judmental approach to teach the Autistic child to connect with the world around them. This program completely transformed our lives. Leo is talking more and more every day. Not because he has to, but because he wants to! He is looking at us and invites us to be near him all the time. He is connecting and interested in other children (FINALLY)! Our little boy is present and tuned in like never before.

The Son-Rise Program has won Best Therapy in a category including ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) and RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) in the AutismOne National Conference. We absolutely love this program but we need your help. According to a study from the Harvard School of Public Health, medical and therapy treatments for Autism cost families between $67,000- $72,000 a year. Our family certainly knows that to be true. That is why we ask for your donation to continue on this journey. Big or small, every little bit counts. Running a Son-Rise program is a full-time commitment to make a difference in our child's life. The cost for training and continual education is very high and it has been difficult to maintain it with other medical treatments our son needs. Leo is also at a stage in his Son-Rise program where he would be greatly benefitted by an "Outreach" program performed by members of the staff at the Autism Treatment Center of America, who are responsible for developing the Son-Rise program. Will you help us by donating and sharing this with your friends and family? This program has given us HOPE! You have the power to make a huge impact in Leo's life!

Thank you and may God Bless you many times over!

Fabiola Hart
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Fabiola Esteves-Hart 
Kansas City, MO
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