AFTER months of fund-raising, a Worthing girl has arrived in the USA for a week of revolutionary treatment.
Angie Ratcliffe, who has autism, headed to Boston with her parents and two volunteer helpers, where she will take part in the intensive Son-Rise training programme.
It is a huge step for her parents, Babs and Nigel, who were told eight-year-old Angie may never speak when she was first diagnosed with the condition at 18 months old.
But after discovering the Son-Rise system around a year ago, Angie has already progressed beyond expectation through work at home, and it is hoped the stay in America will further her development even more.
Speaking just before he left, Nigel, 62, of Stone Street, said: “She’s been responding very well to it, and while she sometimes tries to leave the training room, she’s coping well.
“We’re only doing around four hours a day at home, but in America it will be more than that. I’m hopeful we will learn a lot.”
To fund the trip, Babs and Nigel had to raise £9,000, which they did through producing a CD and hosting a concert, as well as other smaller, money-raising enterprises.
And the first CD was so successful that they have commissioned a second, which will feature tracks by high-profile artistes such as Athlete, Boxes and Iain Archer of Snow Patrol. They hope it will be ready to go on sale later this month and will help to fund Angie’s ongoing treatment.
After starting the programme, Angie can now use lots of words, and have short conversations with her parents, known as “communication loops”.
Nigel said: “It makes us realise she has taken everything in, and processed it, and it’s just her getting the message back out that’s the problem.”
The Son-Rise programme is taught at the Autism Treatment Center of America, where experts will lead Angie in intensive sessions which will be recorded on DVD for the family to take home.
They will also help Babs, Nigel and the volunteers to learn the best techniques for furthering Angie’s speech and language.
To find out more about Angie’s story, or to buy the CD, visit www.angiesmiracles.co.uk