Owen and Ethan's Story

Owen and Ethan

Matt and Michelle enrolled their infant son, Owen, at Fraser School because they liked the flexible hours, teacher interactions and structure. Michelle had a typical pregnancy and delivery, so they never imagined Owen would be using any of the services Fraser School offers for children with special needs.

At just 12 weeks old, Owen was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, and doctors discovered he had a rare brain tumor. Owen had surgery to remove the tumor and contracted meningitis as a result. At five months old he had a shunt placed in his head, and at eight months old he was diagnosed with a form of catastrophic epilepsy, which was treated and is currently in remission.

Through medication and diet, Owen’s epilepsy is currently being controlled. “Fraser was a huge support the entire time,” Matt and Michelle said. “They cared so much for Owen and he had only been at Fraser for a few weeks.”

When Owen was able to come back to Fraser School, he began using the rehabilitation services that are available. “Staff wanted to know more about Owen, his medications, reactions, infections,” Matt said. “They wanted to stay in communication with us so they could give him the proper care.”

When Matt and Michelle decided to have another baby, Michelle had two doctor appointments per week for nine months because of Owen’s challenges. She was told she was going to have a healthy baby. The day Ethan was born, they discovered he had Down syndrome.

“Having gone through everything with Owen prepared us for Ethan’s diagnosis,” Michelle said. “We knew where to go, and what to ask. We were already advocates because of Owen.”

Ethan joined Owen at Fraser School when he was 3 months old. “Everyone at Fraser was so happy for our family and happy to meet Ethan,” Matt said.

Ethan has had his own health challenges, including many bouts of pneumonia. “Between both boys, they’ve been hospitalized over 35 times,” Michelle said. “We just take one day at a time and remind ourselves that life is unpredictable.”

Fraser School has been with them every step of the way. Both boys have physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy on site. “It’s really convenient,” Matt said. “It would be difficult to take them to six therapy appointments per week.”

“Fraser has the same goals for our boys as we do,” the Christensons said. “We all want them to be independent and live happy, fulfilling lives. With Fraser as part of our life, we know that can happen.”