Our daughter, Audriana, was born perfectly healthy in January of 1993. She is our second child, our first daughter.
At the age of four (on February 17, 1997) she was severely brain injured in a car accident. After two emergency brain surgeries to save her life, she was in a coma for two weeks. When she woke she could no longer control the right side of her body, she lost all her speech, she couldn’t use both of her eyes together, and she had severe mental impairments. She went from a vibrant little four year old to a very quiet, severely brain damaged child. We were devastated. What kind of life would our little girl have?
She spent the next 4 weeks in the NICU and then two more months in the rehab hospital. We finally were able to bring her home at the end of May 1997. We then began taking her to out patient rehab, as per our insurance coverage, which was only two days a week. This was not enough for us, and because of a *certain book I read while Audriana was still in the hospital, we decided to take her rehabilitation into our own hands.
We found a place in Philadelphia that worked only with brain injured children. Theirs was a very aggressive brain development program, and it was just what we were hoping to find for her. For the first time since her accident, we were given hope that our girl could one day live a normal life.
For the next three years we did their program, flying back and forth to PA with Audriana twice a year for assessment and updates to her program. We did their program on her each day of the week, every day of the year, and the therapy lasted 7 hours per day. We had volunteers come into our home 3 times each day to help with her program. They came every day of the year, even holidays. It was exhausting and demanding. But we were determined to carry it out. A very aggressive form of brain stimulation therapy was what we believed to be the best chance we could give our daughter of gaining back what she had lost in the brain injury. And we were right.
After three years on the program, our girl learned to walk again (with a slight limp) and could even run (she runs at a normal gait without a limp) She learned to talk again, quite well. She started kindergarten on time, and graduated high school by passing the very same exit exam as her peers. She played soccer for two years (at age 6 and 7) and did horse back riding therapy (age 8, 9 and 10) and then started cheerleading (on a regular cheer team) for two years. She was a Girl Scout with the same troop from age 6 until she graduated from high school. She went to San Francisco with her Girl Scout troop and also New York City, plus numerous camping trips throughout the years. As a young adult she has ran in three 5k runs and improved on her time with each race.
She recovered much more than anyone thought she would, and she inspired us all, and continues to do so.
You can read more about Audriana by clicking HERE or on “Audriana” in the drop down menu of my navigation bar (under INSPIRATION)
*The book that I read while Audriana was in the hospital that pointed me in the direction of the brain institute in PA is called What To Do About Your Brain Injured Child by Glen Doman. I highly recommend this book for any parent of a child with any kind of brain injury.