Close Menu

Jacob was the happiest baby, but he was a little slow to all the developmental milestones. When he started talking it sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles – so our first visit to The Center was directed to Jacob’s speech. At the time, we were not thinking about mood disorders or mental illness. We figured a few sessions with a speech therapist and we would be good to go.

Molly Buist and Jacob, back in the day.
Molly Buist and Jacob, back in the day.

Jacob grew up. He was whip-smart, but his reactions to one thing or another would be grossly disproportionate. Those incidents would get Jacob into trouble. We approached each quirk or idiosyncrasy as a discrete issue to address. That piecemeal approach sufficed for a couple of years, but it felt like we were always moving backward. There came a point where Jacob just stopped participating in our attempts at treatment. We ended up back at The Center.

This time around, we knew we were dealing with something that was not likely to just go away. But, we did not know exactly what we were dealing with. For a long time, giving it a name seemed really important—not so much anymore. When we came back we were all in. No more piecemeal, no more fragmentation, all the people working with Jacob were going to be in the same place working in concert.

It is not as if our return immediately changed everything for Jacob. One thing changed though, he stopped fighting us on participating. The folks at The Center knew how to keep him engaged. They met Jacob right where he was and accepted him. At the time, Jacob was not being accepted anywhere else.

“The folks at The Center treated us as much as they treated Jacob.”

The folks at The Center treated us as much as they treated Jacob. This time we were listening. I cannot tell you how many times I sat talking to one of the therapists in tears, totally frustrated, convinced that things were never going to get better.

Our frustration and Jake’s frustration always came to a head at school. For a long time, we tried to change Jake to fit school. It became apparent that was never going to work. As we asked the school to find ways to accommodate Jacob we discovered that we had to accommodate him, too. The Center really helped us adjust our expectations. They taught us how to meet Jacob where he was. Jacob’s school never figured that out — they didn’t even really try.

“The Center helped us define what Jacob needed to succeed. That helped us create an educational environment that did not make things worse.”

The Center helped us define what Jacob needed to succeed. That helped us create an educational environment that did not make things worse. Once we reached some equilibrium on the educational front, The Center helped us identify experts, national experts, to help with the medication part. Prior to that, we had been burning through meds looking for a magic bullet that would bring back that happy kid. Wrong goal — bad results. The Center helped us define some med goals that were designed to maximize the benefit of the other therapies we were pursuing at The Center. That gave us a more useful point of reference to determine if we were moving in the right direction.

Once we were focusing our energy in the right places, we started to see some movement. That is where we are now. We are walking, slowly forward. There is a path in front of us. It is such a relief to have a path. I am not sure how far we will get, but I know Jake is getting better and better at meeting the expectations that we have for him.

We are getting better and better at having expectations that make sense.

He wants to be an occupational therapist. He wants to make others lives better the same way The Center has made his life — our lives — better. The Center is also feeding that dream of his, and we are eternally grateful that they have embraced his dream as well.