“On October 31, 1994, we were expecting our first child. As typical first-time parents, we were excited and couldn’t wait for the arrival of our healthy son. After a normal pregnancy and birth we went home to start our new life. After a few months, our pediatrician felt that Clay was not hitting his milestones and wanted to have him checked out by a neurologist. After many tests, we were told that Clay suffered a “stroke-like” event during birth and had suffered major brain damage. The doctors told us to work hard and hope for the best. We were in total shock and literally walked around the house without a clue as to where to start. We had no idea what “hope for the best” even meant. We started every type of therapy imaginable, and our lives were consumed by hospitals, doctor visits, untold hours of therapy, seizures, and genetic testing. From a physical standpoint, Clay was and still is frozen in time—at the physical age of a four-month-old.
Today we have four children, including Clay, and all the busy-ness of a typical household … ballgames, birthday parties, vacations, school, music lessons and more, all the while having a sixteen-year-old son who does not walk, is non-verbal, and completely dependent in every aspect of daily life. From feeding to bathing and dressing, Clay needs us for everything.
Because he is so physically dependent on Brian and me, he is emotionally very sensitive about us leaving him behind even for short periods of time. However, Clay wasn’t at all hesitant about going to Jill’s House. I could tell right away he was completely at ease.
Jill’s House provides a break for my husband and me, and gives Clay a place to go be with his peers and to be treated with such kindness. Living in a typical world, it is hard to find a place where Clay can have a day filled with tailor-made activities just for him. Jill’s House makes Clay feel safe.
Clay is completely cognitively aware. He is a smart boy who communicates primarily with yes/no responses, understands English and Spanish and absolutely knows everything that is happening around him. When Clay knows that he is going to Jill’s House, we can see the excitement and joy on his face. It is the best feeling in the world dropping Clay off at Jill’s House and knowing he is happy.” –Vicky Munroe