My name is Allison Mallee and I am the mother of a wonderful four year old boy named JP Mallee.  I am writing this article to share our family’s journey and to express our sincere gratitude and thanks for the support provided by The Arc Alliance and the multiple wonderful people we have met through their organization.

My husband and I tried for multiple years to get pregnant to no avail, we went through multiple rounds of IVF and were on the brink of giving up when a miracle occurred. After multiple hormone injections and doctors visits and needles and setbacks, we were finally told that our determination and prayers had paid off and that we were going to finally be parents. After what I would describe as a less than perfect pregnancy, I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy on November 22nd 2011. In what seemed to be an ironic and wonderful twist of fate we were able bring JP home on Thanksgiving Day.  To say this was the best Thanksgiving ever would have been a major understatement, we were overjoyed with excitement.

Being a new Mom was both a very challenging and exciting time for me, my husband grew up surrounded by siblings and cousins but I was getting my first true experience of caring for a new baby.  I felt that I had an instinctive feeling very early on that JP was having some challenges and was not progressing as quickly as some of the pediatric literature I had been reading.  He was walking and talking very early on, but he would get fixated on doors and cars and spinning objects and his sleeping habits would be very inconsistent.  My husband and pediatrician would try to alleviate my concerns and say he was just behaving like a baby, but I knew in my heart that I needed a professional assessment.  That was the beginning of our relationship with The Arc Alliance.

There is no worse feeling in the world than setting up a meeting with a group of strangers to come into your home to start performing cognitive testing on your one and half year old. I know my husband and I would have both preferred to ignore the signs and convince ourselves that nothing was wrong, but we both knew from our research that we were putting JP in jeopardy and potentially starving him from vital support at a young age that could drastically alter the trajectory of his life.  The Arc Alliance came into our world with both empathy and professionalism and told us that JP seemed to be doing great but that they also noticed behavior that would warrant active therapy.  We were both sad in one regard to find out our child wasn’t perfect, but we were relieved in another sense because we had our concerns validated and we could very quickly put a plan of attack together to help our son.

For the last 3 years The Arc Alliance and the therapists representing The Arc Alliance have in many ways become family members.  Raising a child with special needs is both a special gift and a special challenge and some days that challenge would seem insurmountable without the support provided by these friends.  I hope people will read this and find some commonality in our story and I hope people will read this and realize they are not alone in their struggle.  There are wonderful people and organizations out there who care about you and your children and we are grateful that we have found that kind of support with The Arc Alliance. We have seen major growth and development in JP and we attribute much of that progress to The Arc Alliance.