Hall-of-Famer Says Treatment is Curing Disabling Effects of Concussions

Hall-of-Famer Says Treatment is Curing Disabling Effects of Concussions

by Duane Pohlman, WKRC

CINCINNATI (WKRC) – National Football League (NFL) statistics reveal its players suffered nearly 2,000 concussions from 2012 to 2019. Even with new concussion protocols designed to protect today’s players from further damage, neurologists say many of those players could be left with lifelong damage to their brains.

This Spotlight on America report is part of our continuing examination of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), which a growing number of players and experts claim can reverse damage to brains caused by concussive blows.


On a field overlooking the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, where his bust is enshrined inside, Dave Robinson, a legendary former linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, talked about the therapy he claims has given him a new lease on life.

“I feel good,” Robinson exclaimed with a smile.

The 79-year-old says he has more energy too. It’s a far cry from the worries Robinson expressed in December at a Pro Football Retired Players Association board meeting in Arlington, Virginia.

“I don’t want to get to that point where I don’t’ recognize my friends,” Robinson said, explaining his memory had become murky while he battled sleeplessness and bouts of agitation.

Robinson blames his brain issues on countless concussions he received while playing in brutal games, including leading his beloved Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls.

When asked how many concussions he received on the field during his years of glory, Robinson didn’t hesitate with his answer.

“Oh! More than you have fingers and toes,” he exclaimed, noting later that he suffered serious blows to the head in most games.

But now, for the first time in decades, Robinson says his mind is clearing and his memories are coming back, crediting it all to the HBOT he received.


Because HBOT was originally developed to treat divers who suffered from a buildup of nitrous oxygen in their blood, commonly referred to as “the bends,” each treatment is called a “dive.”

“I did 40 dives,” Robinson explained, talking about his treatment in May and June in a big purple hyperbaric chamber at Sara’s Garden, a clinic in the small northwestern Ohio city of Wauseon, which is just hours from his home in Akron.

During these dives, Robinson was fitted with an oxygen hood and sat down in the sealed chamber while it delivered100% oxygen under pressure. According to HBOT experts, this simple process delivers pure oxygen through the lungs to all parts of the body, including damaged sections of the brain.

MRI images attached to several studies reveal dormant sections of wounded and damaged brains light up with new brain activity after patients receive HBOT.


Forty scientific studies have revealed HBOT does heal wounded brains, which could be a game-changer for former players suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition that has plagued former NFL Players.

In 2017, a team of doctors and scientists examined the brains 111 former NFL players, including Junior Seau, Ken Stabler and Frank Gifford, and found 110 of them had CTE.

Yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approves HBOT for 14 conditions, does not approve HBOT for treating brain injuries, citing a lack of rigorous, clinical studies to prove it works, which brings us back to that Pro Football Retired Players Association board meeting in December.

Robinson and some of the greats of the game, Darrel Thompson, Billy Joe Dupree, Mike Haynes, Ron Mix, Mike Singletary, Jackie Slater and Jack Youngblood, all said they were suffering from the effects of concussions they received when they played football. Jim Brown was not in attendance.

Led by PFRPA’s executive director and CEO Bob Schmidt, the board voted to undergo HBOT themselves to truly see if it works.

“We’re going to use our retired players to really bring this issue forward,” Schmidt explained, saying he believes PFRPA can help bring HBOT to all players and even to military veterans who suffer from wounded brains.

Robinson is the first board member to undergo the full treatments and says it truly worked. Now, this Hall-of-Famer, who is already enshrined inside the hallowed hall in Canton, says he has one more run at another legacy: proving HBOT really works at curing the damage from concussions that have long plagued football players.

“I hope when I’m a 100 I still have my memories, I still have my faculties and can still move around and can tell people I owe it all to HBOT,” Robinson said with a smile moving across his face.

Read the original article from Local 12 WKRC HERE and repost from Pro Football Retired Players Association HERE.

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Burn Relief Through HBOT

Burn Relief Through HBOT

Would you run into a burning building when every instinct and impulse firing in your brain is telling you something else? There are many times that people are presented with this seemingly unanswerable question… a conflict between what we can possibly save and what we are risking to lose.

Sunday, March 29th is a day that Clayton and his family will never forget. Clayton noticed smoke coming from the barn that housed dairy goats his daughters were raising for their 4H projects. Upon seeing the smoke, he ran to the barn to investigate. Unfortunately, when he opened the barn door, the rush of air caused the smoldering straw to ignite.

Despite the potential danger, Clayton ran into the burning barn multiple times in an attempt to save as many of the goats as possible. He was able to save three baby and two adult goats before deciding it was too dangerous to continue going back into the barn. Unfortunately, other than the five goats he was able to save, the barn, the remaining goats and all of its contents were a complete loss.

When the paramedics arrived on the scene, they determined that Clayton was in urgent need of medical attention. Because he had inhaled smoke and breathed in the heat of the fire, the paramedics proceeded to sedate and intubate him for fear that the damage to his trachea and lungs would cause severe swelling and restrict his breathing, causing his airway to fail. They also determined that he had sustained numerous 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his face, neck, head, fingers, hands and right knee. Life Flight was called to the scene and Clayton was rushed to the hospital.

The burns were so severe that Clayton was unable to perform any daily activities or care for himself. His wife became his caregiver following his return home from the hospital. Twice a day, the burns required scraping, cleaning and dressing changes to avoid contracting any infections. The injuries were extremely painful and required special compression garments.

Fortunately, Clayton was able to begin hyperbaric treatments at Sara’s Garden immediately following his release from the hospital. Initially, the treatments were very painful and Clayton questioned whether he would be able to do a full series of treatments. The severity of his burns made him extremely sensitive to temperature changes and heat intolerance. Being in the chamber for extended periods of time was difficult for him to tolerate. Clayton was very thankful at how much effort the staff made to help him relieve his pain and discomfort by packing him with ice bags to cool him down.

Within several weeks of treatment, new skin growth began to appear. The doctors at the burn clinic would comment about how quickly Clayton was healing and remark that he was progressing much more rapidly than they would have anticipated. They were thrilled that Clayton was displaying an accelerated healing process, had a reduction in noticeable scar tissue, and was seeing a quicker return to more normal skin pigment.

Clayton often hears comments from people who saw him at my worst right after the accident. They marvel at how well his healing went. When he tells his story and explains his burns and everything he went through, many people say that his scars and burns are not very noticeable and that if he hadn’t said anything they would not have even noticed.

Clayton and his family are extremely thankful for all the prayers and support they received following his accident. They are eternally grateful that their community of friends and church stepped up to assist with the costs of treatment. They know that God works things out according to his plan and believe he used the great staff and facility of Sara’s Garden to provide the healing he so desperately needed during that time. They know it would be impossible to thank everyone who played a role in providing care and support to their family during that time.

Thanks to the healing power of the great physician, Jesus Christ and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden, Clayton has his life back. No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Challenges Accepted. Challenges Overcome.

Challenges Accepted. Challenges Overcome.

In every cell in the human body there is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes. Genes carry the codes responsible for all of our inherited traits and are grouped along rod-like structures called chromosomes. Typically, the nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. A medical term for having an extra copy of a chromosome is ‘trisomy.’ Down Syndrome is also referred to as Trisomy 21.

This extra chromosome 21 leads to the physical features and traits that can occur among individuals with Down Syndrome. It changes how the baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause both mental and physical challenges. Researchers know that Down Syndrome is caused by an extra chromosome, but no one knows for sure why Down Syndrome occurs or how many different factors play a role.

Brendan’s Down Syndrome diagnosis at birth came as a surprise to his parents; nothing in his mom’s ultrasounds during her pregnancy suggested the possibility of Trisomy 21. Their initial reaction was naturally to be scared and overwhelmed. However, they were able to see him for him, and the diagnosis quickly turned into something they absolutely loved about him. While Down Syndrome may be an irrevocable factor in the equation of Brendan’s life, it does not adequately define who he is, what challenges he will or won’t overcome, or predict who he will become.

As with many children born with Down Syndrome, Brendan had developmental delays in speech, fine and gross motor skills and experienced sensory issues. Additionally, Brendan had a few health problems early on that also led to delays in his development. His family worked hard to put Brendan in programs and therapies that would help with his development and increase his chances for independence. From an early age, he was in speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy. He also did hippotherapy (horseback riding) to strengthen his core muscles due to low muscle tone. All of these therapies were instrumental tools in overcoming early challenges in Brendan’s development.

When it came time to send Brendan to school, his family was faced with a new challenge. Where should they send him? Some children with special learning needs can experience difficulties in school, ranging from physical differences, problems with concentration, learning, speech, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. All children need to feel a sense of belonging in ways that elicit positive responses from those around them. Sometimes, a child with special needs can alienate themselves from others when attempting to have their unique requirements met. This can result in the child feeling even more isolated.

Even though they lived in Toledo, Brendan’s mom worked near the New Horizons Academy campus in Wauseon and had heard many positive things about the school. After touring the facility and meeting with the staff they knew this was where they wanted Brendan to attend school. They were impressed, knowing there was so much that NHA had to offer their son. They decided to move forward with applying to NHA’s new campus location in Springfield.

It didn’t take long for Brendan’s family to begin seeing positive results. Within the first couple of weeks, they started observing noticeable improvement in everything from Brendan’s communication, motors skills, social skills, and even using the bathroom. They were amazed that they were noticing progression in all aspects of his development… and continue to do so.

Brendan is communicating his wants and needs much more than ever before. He is forming multi-word communication and using his manners so well. He has become more independent at home and in social environments. The friendships that Brendan has made have been key to him being willing to help, share and play with others. Brendan’s family has been extremely excited because they see the benefits first hand. They have repeatedly made comments about how there has been such a difference in Brendan and how great NHA has been for him.

Brendan’s mom stated, “We feel blessed and appreciative. Brendan has become more independent with life skills at home. We have noticed his behavior in social settings has improved and he is much more interactive. Brendan absolutely loves his school. He looks forward to going everyday! We are so thankful that this opportunity has been given to Brendan.”

His teachers and therapists have noticed Brendan’s progress as well, noting that when he started at NHA, he was shy and hesitant. Quickly, he started to find his voice. He has become this outgoing, outspoken child. He has such an infectious smile and a big heart! One teacher commented, “It has been so amazing to observe Brendan and be a part of his growth this past year.” The challenges Brendan has overcome and strides forward he has made in this short amount of time is so exciting and his family very is confident that, based on what they’ve seen so far, this will continue.

No matter what you have been told, there is hope. Hope for a child to emerge into the independent adults we as parents pray for. There is hope for those who were told they would not learn, or walk, or talk. That hope, is rekindled through the work that is happening at New Horizons Academy. The loving, caring and true compassion that is shown to each and every student, no matter how difficult their condition, disability, or behavior might be, is where the success story starts.

If you are looking for a caring school environment or a place where your special needs student can grow, thrive, and become as independent as he or she possibly can, then please consider calling us at 419-335-7272 and setting up a tour of New Horizons Academy… Where kids come first!

It’s Never Too Late for HBOT

It’s Never Too Late for HBOT

Children reach developmental milestones at their own pace. Minor, temporary delays are typically no cause for alarm. However, an ongoing delay or multiple delays in reaching milestones could be a sign that something more serious is going on and there may be challenges later in life. Developmental delays may be caused by a variety of factors, including heredity, problems with pregnancy, and premature birth. Unfortunately, the cause of the delay isn’t always known.

Parents of children with autism often report difficulties or delays in their child’s early development prior to two years of age, yet diagnosis is often not made until a child is about four years of age or older. Why? Placement in early intervention programs before four years of age is thought to improve outcomes for children with autism and helps parents understand their child’s needs. Those children who receive a diagnosis of autism after four years of age may be missing crucial opportunities for early intervention.

Tommy’s family knew that something was going on with his development as an infant. They noticed he wasn’t reaching his developmental milestones, such as sitting up and walking, like his older brothers and peers did. Tommy’s pediatrician wasn’t concerned with his delays and wanted to wait to see if it was something he would grow out of. Thankfully Tommy’s parents weren’t willing to wait. They took Tommy to their county’s special education department for evaluation. Testing showed that Tommy had a brain injury which was causing his developmental delays. Because it was discovered early, Tommy was able to receive special education services and therapies throughout his toddler and preschool years. These early interventions played a vital role in helping him reach physical and educational milestones.

Despite this new found success, Tommy was still behind and facing significant social struggles. He had trouble communicating and interacting with others, would avoid trying new activities and would get very upset when his family life wasn’t kept on a schedule. He would overreact when something bad happened, such as not doing well in school, getting in trouble at home or when a sporting event didn’t go the way he wanted. It would take him a long time (sometimes hours) to let go of the negative feelings and be able to interact with his family and friends. It was disrupting his daily life. Any little thing would cause him to “retreat” into himself. As a parent, it was difficult to watch. His family was so proud that he was involved in activities, but heartbroken to see him not able to enjoy the positive experiences.

When Tommy was in middle school, he was diagnosed with autism. He was able to receive therapy that helped him understand his anxiety and taught him ways to handle his emotions. Unfortunately, the therapy didn’t prevent his negative reactions from occurring. By the time Tommy was in high school, he was still having trouble applying these techniques and continued to struggle with daily life experiences. His family wanted to help him prevent these negative feelings, rather than just react to them.

Tommy’s family discovered Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and learned how it can be effective in treating individuals with neurological conditions and brain injuries. They wondered if HBOT could help both the physical and emotional symptoms that Tommy was struggling with. Their search for potential treatment centers led them to Sara’s Garden. They loved the caring atmosphere and knew it was a place that put the clients’ needs first. After a lot of prayer and talking with their entire family, they decided to bring Tommy for treatments when he was off school in the summer.

After only the first week, they noticed Tommy’s outlook and demeanor was improving. He was more positive and was openly talking to people about the treatments he was receiving. The improvement continued after treatments and throughout the rest of the summer. He was more willing to try new things, even activities that were physically challenging. He re-learned how to ride a bike and went canoeing in the months after his treatments. He also felt really positive about himself after both of these experiences, whereas before, he would have remained anxious even after doing something new. Overall, Tommy is now much more relaxed and confident. He is interacting more with people outside of his family, which is something he previously struggled with. He recently went to visit a college that he is interested in attending where he willingly talked to various people and was excited to learn about what the school has to offer.

His family (including his older brothers) have really noticed an improvement in his anxiety level. He still gets upset or disappointed when something negative happens, but now, they are able to talk him through the situation and within a few minutes he is able to move on. Even Tommy’s neurologist and chiropractor noticed improvement in his balance, coordination and flexibility following HBOT treatments!

Tommy’s mom stated, “We came to Sara’s Garden concerned about Tommy’s future. Now, we feel he can cope with the stresses of life. He is willing to learn and try new things and he is more comfortable interacting with the people and world around him. The staff at Sara’s Garden are amazing, caring people and made the experience a positive one for Tommy and for our family. Going every day for 4 weeks was a big commitment, but we were always welcomed with a friendly face and Tommy enjoyed the time he spent and the people he met. I’m sure this positive atmosphere enhanced his treatment process!”

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Never Give Up… Never Give In

Never Give Up… Never Give In

It is so inspiring to see how resilient children can be in overcoming their disabilities. When confronted with the fallout of childhood disabilities, children are somehow able to adapt and overcome despite seemingly insurmountable odds against them. A growing body of evidence points to what might seem like a simple reason: these children have committed families and support systems dedicated to their growth and success. Finley is no exception.

Finley was born with a hole in her skull and missing her Corpus Collosum, the area in the center of the brain that connects the left and right sides allowing faor communication between both hemispheres. She was diagnosed with hydrocephalus when excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected in her brain’s ventricles, negatively impacting her optic nerve and caused her to begin experiencing seizures. Over the years, she has had multiple revisions of her ventriculoperitoneal (VP) shunt in order to relieve the pressure on her brain caused by the fluid accumulation. Unfortunately, due to the multiple skull expansion surgeries, Finley developed a Chiari malformation, a structural defect in the base of her skull and cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance.

Finley had 14 surgeries in the first 4 years of her life, more than most people will experience in a lifetime. Unfortunately, she continued to experience additional seizures and a regression in her speech and social skills despite the surgeries she underwent. Despite everyone’s best efforts, Finley continues to have significant developmental delays, is non-verbal, cannot walk well, does not eat consistently and has sensory processing issues such as seeking out her environment using her mouth.

Her parents were vigilant in seeking out crucial therapies for Finley from the time she was born. A caring and generous support network has been right there beside them every step of the way. They are constantly looking for additional interventions that could aid Finley in moving forward and provide her with the best chance at the most independent future possible. As an adult, Finley’s cousin received hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in Florida with great success. After researching their options and reading family testimonials they decided to visit Sara’s Garden for a tour. While here, they received the encouragement they needed to try HBOT for themselves with Finley. As always, their amazing network of family and friends came alongside the family to ensure they had the means to afford her treatments.

During their first round of treatments they noticed an increase in Finley’s appetite and a reduction in some of her sensory behaviors such as mouthing toys and chewing on her clothes. She even allowed her mother to brush her hair without a fight. Her attention and focus increased as she started responding to her name when called. She began saying more words and showed improved sequencing, sorting and memory skills when playing with blocks each day during her breaks. They even noticed improvement in her social and emotional skills as she displayed an increase in affection, kissing and hugging her mom without prompting, and showed an increased ability to interact with peers.

Finley’s family was thrilled when she began exploring and trying new toys that she had never interacted with in the past, exhibiting signs of improved motor skills resulting in functional and appropriate play! When she returned home following her initial round of treatments, her therapists were excited to see that her balance and coordination had improved and that she was much more aware of her surroundings since the last time they had seen her.

Finley’s improvements weren’t lost on her school either. She can now pull herself up the steps of her bus and her teachers are letting her walk to and from the bus as her balance is better that it was before. She began stacking blocks and stringing beads, which has been an unmet goal on her IEP since she started preschool over 2 years ago! She has started using a straw and a spoon with increased confidence and can now drink from a water bottle without sticking her tongue in the opening.

Her family was so thrilled at the results they saw from Finley’s first 40 treatments that they decided to come back again for a second round. Early on, they were thrilled to experience a vocabulary explosion! Finley was talking up a storm – not just repeating – but using words more functionally without prompting! Finley said thank you, good morning, goodbye, see you later and more all in appropriate social situations. Finley showed more improved balance and coordination when navigating different slopes and grades. Upon returning home after her second round of treatments, her therapists were again amazed at her improved focus on tasks and less mouthing of items that has allowed for more functional expression during therapy sessions.

Finley completed two rounds consisting of 40 treatments each time within 3 months and noticed enormous benefits. The opportunity for hope and healing that was available for Finley at Sara’s Garden has made an impact on not just Finley or her family, but for their community as well. Sharing their daughter’s story has been something they have done before she was even born. They are thankful to now include Sara’s Garden in Finley’s continued story and look forward to returning for more treatments in the future!

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Hope and Healing: One Woman’s Story

Hope and Healing: One Woman’s Story

Active. Dedicated. Ambitious. Engaged. Successful… All fitting words to describe Barb’s professional career, home life and church ministry. For over 40 years, Barb enjoyed balancing a challenging corporate sales schedule together with fulfilling family time and volunteer work. Ultimately, the stress from her work demands and environmental exposure to chemicals throughout her career took its toll on her health and she was hospitalized multiple times for congestive heart failure, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.

Even after retiring in 2008, Barb continued to stay active in her church and with her grandchildren, volunteering to help with numerous events and activities. All that changed on Christmas Eve of 2018 when Barb suffered a stroke. Unfortunately, Barb mistook the symptoms of her stroke for chemical toxicity as she had been varnishing furniture and thought she had simply inhaled too many fumes. After nearly a week, a friend came to visit and after talking with Barb, immediately recognized her symptoms as that of a stroke and immediately took her to the hospital.

While at the hospital, she learned about the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for stroke survivors. Her doctor informed her that because HBOT was not an insurance reimbursable condition for the treatment of stroke, she should contact Sara’s Garden. Friends and neighbors agreed that Barb should try HBOT as they had heard and seen great things from the treatments in their own lives. It was from her hospital bed, that Barb first reached out to Sara’s Garden for help.

Following her stroke, Barb could not speak in good, clear sentences. Her thought patterns were erratic and her sequencing was extremely jumbled. She was told that she didn’t make a whole lot of sense when speaking to others. Additionally, she was very tired, lacked ambition and could hardly use the right side of her body or turn over in bed. She was dizzy and unbalanced and had to use a walker at all times to get around. She could not text on her phone, type on a computer or open jars or packaging of any kind. For a woman who had been successful and independent her entire life, it was extremely frustrating for Barb to be so limited in just about everything she tried to do.

It was not long after starting HBOT treatments that Barb started noticing benefits… not huge leaps, but slow and gradual improvements in her speech, memory, cognitive thinking and overall mental capacity. Her attention span increased and her vision improved. Barb’s thought processing became clearer as did her ability to reason and make sense. The fears that had been experiencing left her and she regained her confidence to tackle jobs and tasks around the house. While she still had some difficulties with her mobility, she became much more stable on her feet.

Her friends and family were thrilled to see Barb asking like her old self again. Her favorite comment that she received from a friend was when they said, “I think you are smarter now than before you went to Sara’s Garden.” Barb is now back at church regularly and even did all the craft teaching for their Vacation Bible School. Her family is happy that she is active again and back to doing more around the house. She is able to do laundry, yard work and shopping. Cooking can still be challenging at times but compared to before it has greatly improved. Most importantly, Barb is once again able to babysit her granddaughters and meet all of their needs. According to Barb, her life has done a complete turnaround over the past six months.

Barb can not say enough about her time at Sara’s Garden and the benefits she received from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. She laughs that she may sound like a broken record to her friends because she talks about HBOT everywhere she goes and with everyone she meets. HBOT has given her a new lease on life as she is once again able to reason and physically able do virtually everything she could do before her stroke.

According to Barb, “It is because of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy that I am where I am today. The love of God and people shines in the face of every caregiver, teacher and administrator at Sara’s Garden. Just being in the presence of the staff is uplifting and beneficial. I have observed more positive and encouraging behaviors toward children and people of needs at Sara’s Garden than any place else on earth! It truly is a labor of love from God!”

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

The Definition of a Winner!

The Definition of a Winner!

These days Christopher Schaub is wearing many hats. He is a 2018 New Horizons Academy (NHA) graduate, Northwest State Community College (NSCC) student, Presidential Scholar, as well as a NHA mentor and role model.

It wasn’t that long ago that Christopher Schaub was a student at New Horizons Academy. He started at NHA as a high schooler in 2014 and excelled throughout his four years. Christopher qualified for College Credit Plus (CCP) classes, earned dual high school-college credit, completed 12 college credits while still in high school, and made both the Dean’s List and Honor Roll through Northwest State Community College.

From his first year’s NHA report card, Intervention Specialist Patrick Nightingale stated, “Christopher has grown more during his sophomore year in high school than any student that I have had the privilege to work with… He has become a stronger, smarter, and more creative asset to any classroom. Christopher has a bright future ahead of him and it was an honor to work with him.”

His maturity and academic strengths continued to blossom and grow during his four years at NHA. While he was here, Christopher had lunch almost daily with the middle schoolers and served as a role model and friend for them. Having received a full-ride Presidential Scholarship with a Legacy Scholarship to Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Christopher has chosen to continue giving back to our middle school and high school students.

This school year, Christopher has volunteered just about every Friday at NHA, having lunch with the middle schoolers, supporting the high schoolers, pitching in wherever he is needed, and even “boogieing” down at the last Spring Dance. Christopher truly cares about the students at New Horizons Academy.

As intervention specialist Jessie Wolfrum put it, “I thought I knew what it was like to be proud of a student, but Christopher took that to a new level! He has set the bar high with his consistent hard work and determination to be successful regardless of the obstacles placed in his path. In my eyes, he is the definition of WINNER!”

And we hope that Christopher keeps winning and succeeding! He has had an absolutely awesome first year of college, taking a wide variety of classes and learning so much. We are so proud that Christopher was and still IS a part of New Horizons Academy! He is a testament to the hope and success that we hope all autistic children can find in their own way here at New Horizons Academy and Sara’s Garden.

If you are looking for a caring school environment or a place where your special needs student can grow, thrive, and become as independent as he or she possibly can, then please consider calling Sara’s Garden at 419-335-7272 and setting up a tour of New Horizons Academy, our special needs school which serves students from nine counties and 20 different school systems.

Miracles Come in All Sights, Sounds & Even SONGS!

Miracles Come in All Sights, Sounds & Even SONGS!

With the start of the new year, New Horizons Academy (NHA) at Sara’s Garden was honored to share its Christmas miracle. Like the first Christmas, there was a Joseph, a Mary, shepherds, sheep, angels, and wise men. But there were also two crickets, 58 elves, eight tree decorators, three soloists, eight musicians, a cow, and Santa Claus, himself, all portrayed by over 100 special needs kids with a wide variety of abilities—singing, dancing, acting, and playing for very proud parents, grandparents, friends, and family members at Pettisville Missionary Church on December 11, 2018. For many of our young actors and actresses, this was the very first time that they had ever participated in a musical and the first time that they had ever shone like a star on the Christmas stage.

With over 650 people in attendance, this was the largest event that Pettisville Missionary Church had ever hosted with many people standing in the back and many, many cars parked in the grass. “Judging by the number of people that attended, I would say this event was something that was very important to our students and their families. The looks on the kids faces were priceless—they honestly all looked like they were having FUN! Thanks for giving the NHA community a night they will never forget!” shared NHA music teacher, Melissa Valentine.

Without Melissa, this Christmas miracle would not have been possible. Without all of her hard work, vision, dedication, and creativity, the show would not have gone on. It was her inspiration, her brain child. She found or created the absolute perfect role for each of our students’ abilities and personalities and corralled and coached over 100 of our special needs kids through the entire Christmas show. Melissa was truly our miracle worker!

As NHA speech/language pathologist Michelle Nagle shared after the performance, “I just wanted to say how absolutely AWESOME this musical was. Thank you, Melissa, for all your hard work. The students did great! I can’t tell you how many family members I heard gushing about the evening as I walked to my car. Monumental event. Thanks to everyone for supporting our kids and making this happen for them. I was moved to tears several times with pride.”

And she wasn’t the only one. Amy Boyer shared, “I might still be crying tears of joy!”

“I truly cannot believe what just happened. It was the most amazing performance I have ever seen. I am so proud of all the kids, and I absolutely cried!” explained NHA behavior specialist, Cortney Wagler. “Melissa, I cannot adequately express my utmost respect and amazement of what you put together. I had no idea it would be so incredible! Everyone did SUCH a fabulous job!”

If you missed this special Christmas show, Elflandia + Other Musical Masterpieces, check out our YouTube channel for your own special, encore performance (video link below).

Among our stars were—

  • Soloists—Tony Conti, Auron Tanksley, and Anne Deffenbaugh
  • Guitar, Ukulele & Autoharp Musicians—Austyn Schweinhagen, Sam Ellis, Noah Nagel, Holley Schackow, Caden Borton, Daymon Plassman, Omira Santillanes, Kyler Campbell, and Eli Warncke.
  • Tree Decorators—Austin Burns, Cadience Ramirez, Ryan Boyer, Zion Siefker, Lily Ringler, Ethan Pieper, Kamil Plaza, Joshua Schackow, and Ben Rickenberg.
  • Elves—Kendall Sickelbaugh, Nick Fish, Zoe Siefker, Austyn Schweinhagen, Jimmy Forrest, Moses Dominguez, Emma Martenies, Eric Spiller, Anne Deffenbaugh, Liz Reber, Kohen Wiechers, Aiyanna Gonzales, Cole Hicks, Danielle Tillson, Chance Zolman, Eli Saneholtz, Levi Bettinger, Orion Baily-Lacy, Darien Homan, Mark Jacobs, Molly Boylan, Sidney Munger, Syndel Barker, Collin Sintobin, Marcos Valderrama, Justin Tanksley, Cooper O’Neal, Julie Stiff, Carter Radzik, Christian Lee, Jaedyn Knight, Seamus Brookes, Taylar Alpaugh, Kyson Davidson, Bruce Babcock, Temperence Gillen, Axl McCarthy, Elizabeth Heberling, Joseph Green, Abbie Thomas, Raiden Bailey-Lacy, Izzy Armas, Dominic Petz, Breya Zolman, Isaiah DeFiesta, Grayson Shirah, Jace Magallanes, Aadon Riegsecker, Auron Tanksley, Tim Held, Josiah Acevedo, Jackson Moore, Nadia Hancher, Isaiah Canales, and Chase Thompson.
  • Humans—Caden Borton, Tony Conti, Omira Santillanes, Holley Schackow, Daymon Plassman, Kyler Campbell, Noah Nagel, Beaux Barrett, Ellisha Rodriguez, Hannah Engler, Cierra Flores, Luke Chambers, Jacob Triesel, Josh Parran, Joseph Schackow, and Sam Ellis.
  • Shepherds—Sidney Munger, Saul Gallardo, Zeke Beck, Chloe Ruhnke, Luke Zachrich, Jackson Burkholder, Jordan Light, Eli Warncke, and Shalian McCarley.
  • Nativity—Jaedyn Knight, Cole Hicks, Christian Lee, Ellisha Rodriguez, Danielle Tillson, Aiyanna Gonzales, Luke Chambers, Hannah Engler, Cierra Flores, Beaux Barrett, Joey Schackow, Jacob Triesel, and Josh Parran.

No matter what you have been told, there is hope…hope and Christmas miracles. New Horizons Academy at Sara’s Garden may be able to help you and your child find hope in the classroom, in school, and yes, even on the Christmas stage!

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Some Heroes Come in Small Packages

Some Heroes Come in Small Packages

Preparing to move your family across the country because of a new job opportunity can be a very stressful time. Doing so while your newborn son, delivered after only 24 weeks, is fighting for his life in the NICU adds a whole new level of stress to the situation.

After a seemingly textbook pregnancy, Seryna went into labor at 22 weeks as her husband was in the process of relocating their family from California to Ohio. She was rushed to the hospital where they were told that her son, Caleb, had very little chance of surviving. They were strongly urged to abort the pregnancy as their son was not considered viable.

Despite having what appeared to be insurmountable odds stacked against him, Caleb held on in the womb for another two weeks. At first, it appeared that he was doing very well for a preemie born so early. Then one night, Randy and Seryna received devastating news that Caleb had contracted a deadly virus and was in renal failure. The doctors explained that they had done everything they possibly could to save Caleb’s life. They were told that there was nothing left to try.

Refusing to give up hope, they had Caleb transferred to the highest-level trauma center in California. As the doctors treated Caleb for the infection that was causing his kidneys to fail, they discovered that his left lung had completely collapsed and his right lung was beginning to disintegrate due to the added stress. They were again cautioned that Caleb’s chances for survival were extremely low. If by some chance he did manage to survive, they were told that the trauma he had endured would leave him neurologically devastated.

Randy and Seryna refused to give up hope. They were committed praying and advocating for Caleb as long as he continued to fight… and fight he did. Caleb’s lung miraculously reopened on its own without the need for surgery. Just as Caleb began to stabilize, Randy had to make the move to Ohio on his own to start his new job, leaving Seryna to watch over Caleb and oversee the final sale of their home.

After nearly seven months in the hospital in California, Caleb and Seryna were Angel Flighted to Toledo, Ohio where Caleb spent yet another four months in pediatric intensive care before receiving the long-awaited release to go home. While it was a tremendous blessing to finally be able to take Caleb home, the road ahead of Caleb was still long and full of many challenges. Losing the amazing team of nurses, doctors, therapists, and specialists was overwhelming. They had to quickly learn how to work with his ventilator, air concentrator, suction machine and pulse oximeter in addition to the around the clock trach changes, feeding tubes and medications.

Over the next few years, Caleb continued his heroic battle to defy the doctors’ original prognosis for his development and quality of life. He grew bigger and stronger and fought through all of the scary moments involving calls to 911 and hospital visits. Randy and Seryna never stopped researching therapies and interventions that would provide Caleb with the best chance of overcoming the challenges before him. Their journey ultimately led them to Sara’s Garden. They were encouraged to learn about the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and believed this treatment could be crucial for Caleb’s healing and development.

Seryna was thrilled to notice that throughout Caleb’s hyperbaric treatments, he began developing improved language, eye contact and focus. He started asking for things when he wanted them. His spontaneous language, which had been limited to only a few single words, increased dramatically and began expanding into phrases. Seryna stated that “It’s like he finally launched and everything he has been working on his entire life is now connecting and making sense to him.”

Since completing hyperbaric treatments, Caleb’s teachers also noticed significant changes in him. He began responding appropriately to needs and questions with no prompting or scripting. He started trying to solve problems on his own and no longer needed hand over hand correction in order to follow directions from the teachers. Additionally, his attention span for playing games, exploring toys and working on tasks went from only 1-2 minutes to over 20 minutes. According to the LaDues, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy at Sara’s Garden has provided them with a “whole new level of hope.”

No matter what you’ve been told, there is hope… for this and many other conditions. HBOT is treatment without drugs… without surgery… without pain.

Renewed Dreams Grow in the Garden

For some parents, learning that their child has Autism comes with a sense of sadness and worry as their fears are finally confirmed. Others experience relief, thankful that they have an explanation after years of doubt and questioning regarding their child’s differences and difficulties. For many others, receiving a diagnosis of Autism comes as a complete and total shock.

Chase’s parents experienced a mixture of all three reactions. As Chase grew, his family noticed that he seemed to play differently than his older brother and sister. He preferred to play alone. Initially, they simply chalked this up to Chase being independent. He liked trains and would place them in a straight line, but they gave it very little thought because that’s just what you do with trains. However, as time went on, they noticed he would do the same thing with refrigerator magnets, blocks and cars.

Something just seemed to be different about Chase, especially when compared to other children his own age. He tended to become overly focused on certain objects, rarely made eye contact and failed to engage in typical toddler babbling. His parents became more concerned as time went on. Chase seemed to get angry or had emotional outbursts, especially when he was placed in new or overly stimulating environments.

When Chase was two years old, a family member with an autistic child suggested that they should have him tested. Chase’s parents took him to two different doctors who both diagnosed him with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Concern… relief… shock. Having Autism wasn’t part of the dream when they started a family. At times, they felt overwhelmed, attempting to process all of the information being thrown at them all while trying to make the right decisions for their son.

Unfortunately, this is the reality for many families today. According to the CDC, about 1 percent of the world population has Autism Spectrum Disorder. More than 3.5 million Americans live with ASD. The prevalence of Autism in the United States has increased dramatically since the year 2000, rising from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 59 children.

Ultimately, Chase’s path led his family to Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Autism Intervention services. They had heard of how these life-changing services had benefited other children with Autism and wanted to do whatever they could for their son.

Following his first found of 40 HBOT treatments, Chase’s parents noticed that he was becoming more aware of his surroundings. He began babbling for the first time in his life. He started making eye contact and began expressing an interest in spending time with other people. His parents were so thrilled with his progress that they had him complete a second round of treatments where he continued to build on the successes and growth he had received during his first round.

The teachers and paraprofessionals who worked with Chase at New Horizons Academy noticed drastic changes begin to take place as they provided Autism Intervention services. He became so much less frustrated as his words began emerging and he was able to express himself and be understood by others. His social interaction also grew dramatically as he began to play and interact with his peers. Chase was making great gains and meeting milestones that his parents had previously feared might never be achieved.

Before coming to Sara’s Garden, Chase’s parents had many questions about their son’s future. Thanks to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Autism Intervention services at Sara’s Garden, Chase’s family has been given a newfound hope and state that they are “grateful beyond words for what they’ve done, and continue to do, for our Chase”. They can now see their son’s emerging potential and have renewed dreams for his future.

Hope for a child to emerge into the responsible adults we as parents pray for. There is hope for those who were told they would not learn, or walk, or talk. That hope, is rekindled through the work that is happening at Sara’s Garden and New Horizons Academy. The loving, caring and true compassion that is shown to each and every client, no matter how difficult their condition, disability, or behavior might be, is where the success story starts. Come join us and you’ll see what is possible for a child who has been labeled as “different”.

No matter what you have been told, there is hope… and Sara’s Garden can help you find it.