When Talon Troxel was three, he went from having a vocabulary of 500 words to zero, and refused to eat just about anything put in front of him. When his younger brother, Caden turned three, he too developed speech and feeding problems, and a raging temper that lashed out like a rattlesnake 60 to 80 times a day. The boys were both diagnosed with forms of autism. Caden was also diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder which was causing his tantrums and Talon with Sensory Processing Disorder.
Today, both boys at ages 6 and 4 couldn’t be more different. They are happy, building up their vocabularies, eating all kinds of good food, and going to school in a
regular education setting with support in place. The boys’ parents, Ann and Brandon Troxel of Nazareth, credit the turn-around to Good Shepherd’s speech, occupational and feeding therapists at the Dornsife Family Therapy Suite in the Health & Technology Center.
The Troxels are so grateful to Good Shepherd for helping to make their family whole, they donated $6,000 to the pediatric program so the therapists could choose feeding implements, games, and new sensory swings to add to the program’s inventory of therapeutic tools. And, for Brandon’s 40th birthday last August, instead of presents, they asked friends to enhance their gift with donations of their own. To date, nearly $1,000 more has been raised.
The Troxels made their gift “in the spirit of paying it forward,” so other families who are “presently in our past dungeon can one day look at their children with disabilities and see abilities, strength and hope,” says Ann.
“Are there miles to go before we rest? Absolutely. Are my kids cured? No. But we’re coping and we’re not suffocating any more. We’re celebrating. We had the best Thanksgiving ever. My kids actually sat at that dinner table and tried turkey, shrimp and other side dishes, and had conversations. We are humbled by the love that surrounds us…We came to Good Shepherd, and it changed our lives for the better.”
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