Our story begins 29 years ago with the birth of our own son, Daniel. My wife's pregnancy had been described as being a "textbook pregnancy," but unfortunately it was not a textbook birth and Daniel had been delivered dead by emergency caesarean section having suffered severe oxygen starvation during labour. It took the medical staff 20 minutes to resuscitate him and by the time they did, the brain injuries which he had sustained during a mismanaged labour had been compounded. As they rushed him to the neonatal intensive care unit he was already suffering multiple seizures and we were later informed that his injuries were so severe that he was not expected to survive 24 hours. An EEG then confirmed his brain activity as being a 'pre-terminal event.' I remember every minute of those 48 hours as though they happened yesterday. I remember a little baby boy who fought dearly to live. As he did throughout his life, he fought everything, sometimes even beneficial things and so it was that every time they put a line into him, he ripped it out. It was sheer determination that he survived those bleak hours and a neonatal medical and nursing team to whom I owe a great deal.
The next few days were very traumatic but Daniel did survive and eventually we were allowed to take him home. We were told that he would be very unlikely to have escaped his ordeal without significant disability. In fact he turned out to be blind, deaf and quadriplegic. We were told that this was a situation which would never change, - a statement we refused to accept and we set out on a journey to find answers to his problems, - a journey which would take us all over the world.
Daniel hardly slept and this was gradually wearing Janet, my wife down to the ground. We decided that she needed help and that if we were really going to solve Daniel's problems, that I should give up my career, so that I was available at home to take some of the strain. We also decided that I should enroll at university to study psychology and child development so that I was learning more and more about Daniel's problems. The degree I enrolled on was full time, so at least we would be in receipt of a student grant, but it had the advantage that my lectures were so spaced out, that I could be at home much more than previously.
Somehow over the next 3 years, despite a profound lack of sleep, I managed to get a degree based in psychology and child development and this combined with other things we were doing meant that we had been able to bring back Daniel's sight and hearing, much to the initial shock of the medical profession, however this shock soon changed to the position, agreed amongst themselves that "it would have happened anyway." Yes of course if we had done nothing, it would have happened anyway.
So, over the years we managed to give Daniel a good quality of life, using help from various therapies and our own increasing knowledge. However, at age 13, Daniel suddenly developed an unsafe swallow. This was a setback because his weight was always judged to be on the 'light side' and so the decision was made to insert a naso-gastric tube. This did have the desired effect of him putting on weight, however another more sinister complication arose, - he started to display signs that he was entering puberty. This obviously had the effect of releasing various hormones into his system and the poor little mite just could not cope. He began to experience brainstem seizures which despite all their efforts his doctors were unable to control. Then when he was 15 he suffered a brainstem stroke. Over the next weeks he began to decline and a couple more of these episodes ensured that there would be no recovery. On the morning of the 21st of December 2003, I saw his eyes close for the final time and at 4-40am we lost him.
As you may imagine, over the next few months, we were devastated, (in fact we still are, losing a child is something you never get over). We wanted nothing to do with the 'special needs world' we totally rejected it. However, eventually I decided to finish my studies and returned to that world to supplement my degree with post graduate qualifications in 'language and communications impairments in children' and ultimately a degree based in neuroscience and child development. In August 2008 Snowdrop was born. We called it Snowdrop because on the morning of Daniel's passing, Janet went into the garden and saw the new life of the snowdrop bulbs just beginning to break through the soil. We later discovered that the Snowdrop is an international symbol of hope through adversity, - a fitting metaphor. Initially we had one child on our programme, but today we are bursting at the seams with hundreds of families using our programme from all over the world. We have children on our programme with a wide variety of developmental problems, ranging from 'specific language impairment, through to sever cerebral palsy, autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder and much more. We also treat a wide variety of sometimes rare genetic disorders.
Our success has outstripped my wildest dreams. We have children seeing, hearing, feeling, walking, speaking and much more, who previously were unable to. This is not just empty talk of success which cannot be substantiated, I can actually introduce you to the families whose children have been helped. When I was an 18 year young laboratory technician starting out in the world, I never thought my life would take this turn. If you want to learn more about us, simply visit our website at http://www.snowdrop.cc or you could visit our Facebook page or simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org