Brady the Brave

Brady the Brave

“Our therapist recommended that we apply for a scholarship through Family Hope Foundation. I cried tears of joy when we heard that Brady had received a scholarship. This meant Brady would continue to receive speech and occupational therapy. This scholarship gave us hope.”

After the birth of their first son Liam, the Cole family prayed the Lord would bless them with a second child, and He did. With his impish smile and sky-blue eyes, Brady Matthew was the answer to the family’s prayer. “Brady means brave, and Matthew means an answer to prayer,” says Brady’s mom, Katie.

At first, Brady was a content, easy-going baby. Nothing seemed to bother him or make him cry. But when Brady turned a year old, things started to change. Small for his age, Brady was no longer a happy, easy baby. The Coles consulted their pediatrician about Brady’s low weight and other issues they were concerned with. The doctor recommended eliminating dairy from Brady’s diet, but it didn’t help. By the time Brady was a year and a half, mom began to further question his low weight, fussiness, and little to no communication. At age two, Brady was evaluated for speech through Early On and was found to have a speech delay. 

Brady’s inability to communicate his feelings and needs led to extreme frustration and meltdowns that would last an hour or more multiple times a day. Following the arrival of their third son, Owen, the Coles planned to start Brady in a speech therapy program with Family Tree Therapies. The onset of the COVID pandemic forced the family to pivot and substitute virtual visits for in-person therapy sessions for the short-term. Brady was progressing, and his vocabulary began to expand.

Even though Brandy’s speech improved, he continued to decline physically. He was losing weight, and he would lay around the house with his blankie while his brothers ran around and played. He would only wear particular clothing because most of his clothing irritated him. Brady also struggled with the texture of many foods, and the mess associated with eating bothered him. These factors led to extended meltdowns and a continued decline in Brady’s weight. “It was the most helpless feeling as a parent. I didn’t know how to support him. Brady struggled in so many ways, but everything I tried made no difference or seemed to make things worse,” says Katie. At this point, Brady was also diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder and referred to an occupational therapist.

Mom tearfully recalls sharing with Brady’s occupational therapist that he never wanted kisses or hugs “One of the hardest parts was wanting to give my son affection, yet most forms of touch caused him great discomfort. As a mom, not being able to bond in this way was harder than words can describe. Our family now had three children under the age of five. Our family was already overwhelmed by day-to-day life. The new financial and time commitment for Brady to access the services he needed was more than we could manage.”

She continues, “Our therapist recommended that we apply for a scholarship through Family Hope Foundation. I cried tears of joy when we heard that Brady had received a scholarship. This meant Brady would continue to receive speech and occupational therapy. This scholarship gave us hope.” 

Through occupational therapy, the Coles learned techniques to help support many of Brady’s tactile challenges brought on by his sensory processing disorder. They added an outdoor swing, the cushions on the couch became his ‘crash pad,’ and they learned different massage techniques to calm him. He was also given different pajama options to choose from. He began by wearing his choice for five minutes, and then we slowly increased the length of time. Through this process, Brady was also learning trust.

Thanks to the numerous therapies, Brady is now thriving! He has been steadily putting on weight, and his vocabulary has increased. He laughs at silly jokes. He loves running around and playing with his brothers. His older brother can now understand him, and they now have a special bond. Brady has just recently started showing affection to his parents and brothers by giving hugs and kisses. “We praise the Lord for Brady’s progress and are so incredibly grateful to Family Hope Foundation and everyone who supports them with a donation, which makes it possible for Brady to receive the help he needs. Family Hope Foundation is a great encouragement and a blessing to our family.”

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