I’ll start with my cousin Aaron, who is now gone from this world, but left me to tell his story. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and not only dealt with misdiagnosis, but poor intervention. He never saw a therapist. He lived his life in a chair and although he was loved by his family, lack of medical and therapy care diminished the quality of his life, and contributed to his life ending early. I was a child when he died, but I knew in my heart it didn’t have to happen.

That something different could have and had to be done.

Aaron Harper
Aaron Harper

My younger sister Janelle is my other inspiration. I rode on the small yellow school bus in Brooklyn that announced her special needs to the world. Unlike my cousin who had an obvious brain problem a broken structure, a diagnosis, her problem was not obvious. She never got diagnosed.

I have watched how this lack of knowing has wrecked havoc in my sister’s life. She has never known what was wrong or why her life was limited. She just felt it. Lived it. Not knowing has limited her reaching out for intervention and her blaming herself for a life that has been writhe with struggle and pain. She has a processing disorder.

I know…why didn’t I do something about it. By the time I knew what was happening and had the skills to really help my sister, she became an adult. She had to decide to get treatment. I tried several times to talk to her, but she didn’t hear me and worst of all, didn’t take action.

As painful as it was for me to witness, I had to wait. I’ve waited for her to ask for help. Gratefully, my sister has finally acknowledged her struggle and asked for evaluation and treatment. It is my priveledge and honor as she was the one that made me want to do what I do…find answers and change lives.

My sister, Janelle Harper and I

My sister’s and cousin’s stories are not unique. As I travel the world spreading the word about the brain, processing disorders and neuroplasticity, I meet people who talk to me about their family members. Like mine, some people have siblings or children with the obvious (what I call hardware) problems. Diagnosis such as Cerbral Palsy, Down’s Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injuries and various forms of neurological and structural problems. As one mom said to me of one of her son with Down’s Syndrome, ”It’s hard to hear and to know, but then you accept it and you move forward knowing what you are dealing with.”

However for that same mom, dealing with her child with a processing disorder (what I term software problems) it was worst. Worst, why? The not knowing. She said, “When you have another child, that no one can tell you what’s the problem, but you know something is wrong, you feel desperate, lost…it’s harder.”

That’s the experience of people with processing disorders. Lost. Confused. Not quite right.

Knowing is the beginning of HOPE.

The WAY Forward is to Spread some HOPE!

Processing disorders (PD) is clearly leaving a trail of destruction in our community: broken marriages, struggling students, failing careers, and sooner or later, a range of mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Individuals, like my sister, affected with PD have a decreased ability to function at optimal performance in life, resulting in lost productivity at work, school, home, and in their daily lives in general.

With 1:25 people affected, it is highly likely that you or someone you know is struggling unknowingly or silently with this disorder. PD occurs when the brain is inefficient at using and moving incoming information properly. Untreated PD impacts an adult's ability to succeed in marriage, work, parenting, and social activities.

Thanks to a little-known scientific fact called neuroplasticity, with specific stimulation, brains and minds can grow. For 20 years, TheraPeeds has been using the science of neuroplasticity to change PD brains at any age and stage of development. Our treatment transforms the lives of those with PD by allowing them to better receive and respond to input, allowing more efficient function in life.

Despite the fantastic work we continue to do at TheraPeeds, there are millions of people around the world who continue to needlessly struggle with PD. They have no clue that there is a label for what they are experiencing, let alone treatment for it. They have no idea that healthier brains mean successful careers, productive workers, enhanced relationships, better parents, and thriving children. Anyone can become more productive and effective by rewiring their brain! It is time to share this fact with the world.

PD Awareness must become a household word. PD is more prevalent than Autism and other disabilities, but no one knows it. Going forward, I am committed to being a force for change and making a difference on a larger scale. I am determined to bring H.O.P.E to the awkward, quirky, unique, and struggling. It is time to make a lasting change in people’s lives who are needlessly suffering from PD. Whether it is at conferences, on the radio, in classrooms or sitting at someone’s kitchen table, I am going to educate the world about PD.  I hope you will join me in this crusade to raise awareness about this disorder. You know the W.A.Y. forward; it is time to spread some H.O.P.E!

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