Tyler’s Intensive Autism Therapy
A few days before Thanksgiving in 2003, a little bundle of joy entered the world and came into our lives. His name is Tyler Harrison Darlow, and since that day he has brought many smiles and much joy to our family. ￼ When Tyler was about a year old, we noticed that he was not responding to his name, and he started missing some of the milestones that are common for typically developing children. After trips to the family Doctor and a neurologist, we received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified), which means that his symptoms were consistent with children on the autistic spectrum.
￼ Tyler at 10 months old. Photo by Andrew Darlow
After working with Tyler at home, and after nearly ten years of school in a special education setting, we have seen many positive results. The therapies we've done include: diet modification; vitamin supplementation; hyperbaric oxygen therapy; sports/fitness classes and leagues; social groups; and homeopathy.
He is very healthy and happy, and he is able to participate in some of the activities in which his neurotypical peers are participating (including indoor rock climbing, as you can see from the photo below!).
￼Tyler at 12 years old reaching new heights at The Gravity Vault inMiddletown, NJ. Photo by Andrew Darlow
We believe that he has so much more inside of him to share with the world, and the areas in which his symptoms differ most from his neurotypical peers are with regard to communication, especially "small talk," and an interest in having conversations with others.
Tyler performing a short dance routine at a family holiday party at age 11.
Some of the things that have helped Tyler both physically and from a self-confidence standpoint have been singing, dancing and his love of American Ninja Warrior, a TV program that features everyday people who are truly inspiring who compete on obstacle courses that are absolutely amazing. His interest in American Ninja Warrior inspired us to find Ninja warrior gyms that we could visit and where he could take classes.
Tyler training w/ Vince Klapper at Gymja Warrior a few months ago. We were so happy to see Tyler able to quickly learn from Vince after watching him do this obstacle known on the TV show as the "Quintuple Steps."
In just the last six months, he trained at a gym in Massachusetts (GymjaWarrior.com) and Connecticut (NewEraGym.com) when we were traveling in New England, as well as a gym called All Heart Academy in Hamilton, NJ. Luckily, a new Ninja/Parkour gym opened just a few months ago in Bound Brook, NJ that's not far from our home called Vertiquest Gym. The gym's owner, Mike Needham, and one of the gym's instructors, Jason Budd, have both worked with Tyler privately and in group classes, and he has really benefitted from their kindness and dedication to their students.
￼Mike Needham, owner of VertiQuest Gym, showing Tyler proper technique on the Salmon Ladder. He hasn't quite climbed his first rung yet, but with a lot of practice, someday he might get to the top of Mt. Midoriyama (that's the 4th and final stage on the show)!
That brings us to today and our request for help. Tyler just became a teenager, and thanks to a bit of luck and a lot of research, we feel as though we've found a way (you might call it a secret passageway) to help Tyler achieve a whole new level of communication and independance. It's called the Son-Rise Program®. At its core (as we interpret it), the program helps parents and other caregivers utilize childrens' interests and communicate with them through play and other shared experiences. It's not so much about "teaching" as it's about helping children to enhance their level of interaction and socialization with others.
Their techniques, as they have shown with many children over the last 20+ years, can lead to decreases in many or all of the symptoms that are often associated with children on the autistic spectrum. In our experience using the approach over the last 6-9 months, we've already seen great improvements in Tyler's ability to communicate with us, his teachers and his peers.
All of the funds raised (after paying gofundme.com's small processing fees and covering the costs of the donor rewards we've put together) will go toward paying the approximately $18,000 tuition and travel costs for the week-long Son-Rise Program® Intensive that we will be attending in early 2017.
A whole team will be working with us for five straight days, and we can't wait to learn more about how we can help Tyler be able to share more about his dreams and goals for the future. Below is a video of the campus where we will be staying for a week. I attended the Son-Rise Program® Start-Up training with about 80 other parents from around the world in August of 2016, and you can see me waving and wearing a yellow shirt in the back left of the room at about 3 min 23 sec. It was truly a life-changing experience. Even if you decide for any reason not to donate to our campaign, we hope that you will visit the website for the Autism Treatment Center of America to learn more about how they have helped thousands of families in many different ways. If even one parent with a child on the spectrum sees this and learns a technique that helps their child in some way, we know that our time was well spent.
Their YouTube channel is filled with information about the program, including many videos that explain how to start using the techniques right away. And if there was one book that I could recommend to help others truly understand how the program was developed and why the methods have worked so well for so many, it would be this one, entitled: Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues. Here's a link to a letter from its author , Bears Kaufman. There you will also find a full chapter of the book and the Foreword, which was written by the person who inspired the whole program, Raun Kaufman. In many ways, the book is a blueprint for implementing the Son-Rise Program's techniques.
I met Raun Kaufman in New York City at a lecture and then again at a book signing during the Son-Rise Program® Start-Up, and of course, I had to get a photo with him. He's actually much taller than me; I was just standing on a raised section of the room that makes me look about 6 ft 5 (I'm really 5 ft 10)! A link to his book, which I highly recommend, can be found here .￼ Thank you for taking time to consider helping Tyler as we continue our amazing journey with him. We've created a number of rewards to express our thanks for any contributions we might receive.
And Tyler has just one more thing to say... Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours! ￼ Andrew, Belinda and Tyler Darlow
OVERVIEW OF REWARDS
I've chosen a number of rewards for this GoFundMe campaign, including a number of prints of two very special dogs (Elwood and Teekee), who I photographed at a fundraising event to benefit breast cancer research. Elwood unfortunately passed away a few years ago, but he continues to help others through a college scholarship that was created in his name, and in many other ways. His amazing "Mom" Karen Quigley wrote these kind words about Tyler, Elwood, and this campaign, and I thank her from the bottom on my heart: "My heart is full of joy knowing that is some small way Elwood can support Andrew Darlow as he seeks to provide this son, Tyler, with opportunities to enrich his life. Although Elwood is no longer with us, his legacy of kindness and helping others lives on. May those who receive the beautiful prints of Elwood with his girl Teekee be reminded that it is because of your love and generosity Tyler will be able to have a more fulfilling life."
Please note: Due to a number of reasons, no rewards can be shipped outside of the 50 US States, but any of the consulting rewards are also applicable for non-US residents.
￼Not Elwood's First Kiss, photograph by Andrew Darlow
After Reading the Descriptions Below, to go to the Rewards Page to donate any amount, Visit This Page .
SIGNED PRINT #1 (click on reward name to choose) $67 A 5x7 archival color print of "Not Elwood's First Kiss," signed by Andrew Darlow, and ready to mat and/or frame. 150 prints available
SIGNED PRINT #2 $127 A 5x7 archival color print of "Not Elwood's First Kiss," signed by Andrew Darlow, matted to 8x10 in. using an 8-ply rag mat and framed in black metal. Open edition print. 100 prints available
SIGNED PRINT #3 $197 20x16 inch archival pigment ink print on gallery-wrapped canvas. Title: "Not Elwood's First Kiss," hand signed by Andrew Darlow. Open edition print. 50 prints available
SIGNED PRINT #4 $297 20x16 archival pigment ink print on gallery-wrapped canvas in a gold frame. Title: "Not Elwood's First Kiss," hand signed by Andrew Darlow. Open edition print. 50 prints available
SIGNED PRINT #5 $497 24x20 in. archival pigment ink print on gallery-wrapped canvas in a gold frame (shown below). Title: "Not Elwood's First Kiss," signed by Andrew Darlow (the numbered edition has been set not to exceed 100 at this size). 40 prints available ￼Not Elwood's First Kiss, Photograph by Andrew Darlow ￼I was honored to have had this print displayed on-air during an interview on CBS Philly with Karen Quigley as she spoke about Elwood after his passing.
YOUR CUSTOM PRINT MADE! (limited to 10) $499 Andrew Darlow will work personally with you to turn one of your photos into a 16x20 canvas or metal print. Includes 60-90 min. of phone/internet consulting and shipping anywhere in the USA.
VIP CONSULT 1 (limited to 10)
$975 (regularly $1199)
Andrew Darlow will work 1 on 1 w/ you via phone for 6 hrs. on any of the following:
• Organizing images; • Creating a backup strategy; and/or • Taking better photos
VIP CONSULT 2 (limited to 7) $1495 (regularly $1999) Andrew Darlow will work 1 on 1 w/ you via phone for 10 hrs. on any of the following: • Organizing images; • Creating a backup strategy; and/or • Taking better photos
CUSTOM PORTRAIT SESSION (limited to 5) $1750 This very special custom family portrait session package at any location within 75 miles of Piscataway, NJ, includes four canvas, paper or metal prints (up to 20x24 in) with custom framing, as well as four matted paper prints and up to ten retouched digital images of the prints and other photographs from the session (to be used for sharing and social media). May be scheduled any time from late January through December, 2017 (weather and schedule permitting).
￼ A family portrait by Andrew Darlow
￼An article about Andrew Darlow in a NJ Newspaper during a photo shoot. Photo credit: Whitey Warner
And here is a link to a video interview of Andrew Darlow on location photographing Teekee for The Daily Record newspaper.
After Reading the Descriptions Above, to go to the Rewards Page to give any amount, Visit This Page .
Please feel free to share this message with anyone you think may be interested in learning about our story.
Photo info: I've included a photo of "Father Time" (a.k.a. Grandpa Mark) w/ "Baby New Year" Tyler from when Tyler was just 2 months old.
Many hugs, thank you for your support, and thank you for sharing our story. Happy New Year to all!
Andrew, Belinda and Tyler Darlow