Todd's son started talking in sentences his second week

Todd's son, Cody, has aphasia from a brain injury at 23 years old. He was told Cody would hit a plateau, but Cody learned new words every day during intensive aphasia therapy

Cody’s 23 years old. He was involved in…a drunk driver hit Cody from behind in Phoenix Arizona, January 2013. She [The therapist] started working with Cody several months before she told us about the Aphasia Center. When she did tell us about the Aphasia Center, she said “Look, I think he’s ready for this. I didn’t tell you in the beginning because I didn’t want you to get your hopes up, but”, she said, “I believe he’s ready for a school like this”, and she suggested this Aphasia Center here. I looked you guys up online and gave you a call. It all worked out great, we came down here.

You guys have noticed how good he is with his humor. He has made great progress in four weeks. I believe when we’re with him every day as caregivers we see thing, but someone who doesn’t see him for a month, they really see the improvements. But being here, the second week we were here, we started noticing he was already talking short sentences. The biggest thing he does now is when you say a new word to him he repeats it three times. He might need, the next day might, need a little assistance saying the word but he’ll say it “oh yeah”, he’ll remember, “oh yeah yesterday”.

He’s done great here. He wants to go to school. The first week he wanted to go home, but he was homesick. The second week he started getting that routine. He gets himself out of bed at 8 o’clock in the morning. Takes his own shower, fixes his own breakfast, and he’s ready to walk out the door and most of the time he’s pulling on me, “let’s go, let’s go”. He’s looking at my watch, “let’s go.”

I think this foundation you guys have set for us here, we’re really going to build on and we plan on coming back for the next stay. As far as what we want Cody to be from now, I want him independent. I want him to be able to communicate with everybody, we all can communicate with him. You guys really picked up on it quick, I mean cause that’s your job but people back home if he’s trying to do something with his hands and telling somebody what he wants, they don’t know what he’s talking about. We do because we’re with him everyday, but I want him to be able to tell people what he wants.

I want him to also prove these doctors wrong who said, “two years you’re going to hit a plateau”. It’s over two years since his accident, one doctor said “well since his last major set back”, which was his bone flap being put back in, which was in March of 2013. But we’re still making progress.

So I think if you don’t keep up with this type of knowledge and education for him, you’re going to see a plateau but with you guys, these last 3 weeks have been really good for cody. Everybody who talks to him on the phone even says when they are talking to him he doesn’t stutter, he doesn’t stop to think about the work, he just throws it out there, and 9 times out of 10 it’s right.

I must say the biggest thing is never give up. We’ve had lots of doctors tell us, “this is as good as it gets”, and I’ve told them all, “no, this isn’t the end”. We send them videos all the time and they’re like, “oh my god, I can’t believe this, this can’t be the same kid”. We don’t give up, we let him try things if he thinks he can do it. We’ll let him try like mowing the lawn. He said he could mow, he pointed to the mower. I said, “if you can start riding the lawn mower, go for it”. Got on, started it and mowed the lawn. No problem.

Don’t give up on them, I think the big part of it is just being with them every day. We did see patients in Phoenix that didn’t have family with them and they didn’t hardly do anything. The nurses would be talking to them or what not, but as far as having family there, that’s important. You’ve gotta be there, keep a positive attitude, tell them it’s gonna get better, keep moving forward, don’t stop. It changes your life but you don’t wanna give up on our kids. We’re gonna do whatever we can to get him to that next level.