In 1979, a little girl named Jesse was born with a significant brain injury. Not satisfied with her progress and the projections for her future, her parents explored the country for interventions. They took advantage of all the best traditional services and met many friendly and supportive therapists the first few years of her life, but found themselves continuously waiting to see their daughter improve.
Driven by the hope to see their daughter reach her highest potential, they did an ample amount of brain research. Luckily, the many hours spent pouring over books led them to Art Sandler, a PT who took a neuro-physiological approach when assessing vision, auditory, kinesthetic, and motor function as well as reflexes, nutrition and allergies. Jesse’s parents attended one of Sandler’s all-day lectures and felt electrified by the way he concretely explained why and how the brain develops through movement. Feeling confident that Sandler’s approach provided the most comprehensive evaluation over all the other interventions they had considered, they decided to begin implementing his program. Finally, they felt hope.
Her parents found it easy to bring Sandler’s program into their home with the support of volunteers. Within a few years, Jesse began to walk with ease as her balance improved, stand up straight and even speak. She had transformed into a charming little girl, making it difficult for the volunteers to say goodbye. At that point, her parents made a lifetime vow to give back the gift of Sandler's program to other families, hoping it would allow more children like Jesse to reach their highest potential.
Jesse’s parents are Bob and Kathy DeBoer, our Founders, and thus began our journey of striving to help all adults and children achieve their highest potential. Bob, Kathy and a group of parents officially founded A Chance To Grow in 1983 on the combination of two ingredients that we still live by today:
1) The unlimited hope of a parent’s dreams for their child to grow to their highest potential
2) The application of the latest research on the neuro-physiological development of the brain and human beings
Sandler agreed to come to the Twin Cities twice a year to evaluate children and did so for the next 15 years. Immobile children learned to crawl, creep and walk. Cortically blind children learned to see and read at the same level as their peers. Children with learning disabilities moved to the top of their class. As we have worked with thousands of children facing many diverse challenges over the years, Bob and Kathy have always found it absolutely necessary to seek the most current interventions available to help children reach their highest potential. This priority and desire to provide the best interventions available for families and children led to the addition of four programs to complement Sandler’s neuro-physiological approach. Over time, we added:
- Medicare certified Home Based Services, where Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) work in the home with children
- Vision Services, offering a full range of services including eye exams, glasses and Vision Therapy
- Auditory Services, offering auditory stimulation for children and adults with auditory processing disorders
- Neurotechnology Services, helping children and adults with ADD, ADHD, anxiety, sleep problems, seizures, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and much more
In 1998, what started on Bob and Kathy’s kitchen table moved to our current location at 1800 Second Street NE in Minneapolis, MN, which led to the addition of three more programs:
- Outpatient Services, offering Speech and Occupational Therapy
- Turnquist Childcare Center, serving children from birth to 12 years old
- The Minnesota Learning Resource Center (MLRC), which has successfully trained professionals in many of A Chance To Grow’s interventions in over 260 schools throughout the nation through teacher-training workshops and mentoring.
Throughout this journey, we at A Chance To Grow have drawn from the inspiration and training of a number of world-renowned professionals and therapists, such as:
- Art Sandler, PT
- Dr. Bernard Rimland and Temple Grandin, who both contributed mightily to our understanding of autism
- Dr. Kjeld Johansen, who developed the auditory intervention JIAS, which A Chance To Grow’s Auditory Services practices today
- Sue and Siegfried Othmers, who pioneered the use of EEG Neurofeedback
- Dr. Robert Zwicky and Janyce Moroz-- local leading developmental optometrists who laid the basis for A Chance To Grow’s Vision Services and the S.M.A.R.T. Boost Up Plus program