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'Stigmatize and diagnose': Special needs ministry founder shares what's wrong with society's approach (video)

Jacob's Ladder
A sign sits outside of the of the Jacob's Ladder School in Roswell, Georgia. |

ROSWELL, Georgia  — Talk with anyone who has a special needs family member, and they'll say that one of the stressors they face is finding an educational program that fits the needs of their loved one.

It’s difficult and time-consuming. So when Amy O’Dell gave birth to a boy with extensive development delay and doctors offered little guidance to help him thrive, she used her training and experience to launch an organization to support him. Today, the organization has helped over 4,000 other children with neurological disorders.

With Jacob’s Ladder, O’Dell feels like she's been called to carry the mantle that God's placed on her. And she's clear in saying that the program and facilities that many see today are all because of God and His provisions.

“When Jacob came along, he had some significant developmental delays. One of the things that I really learned that has served me over the last 28 years in this work is the Lord didn't give me a child that had one specific diagnosis," she told The Christian Post in an interview shown in the video above. 

O’Dell not only wanted to create ways to help her child but others, too, as she discovered that children like Jacob needed specialized help and understanding.

“What I found back 28 years ago is that it's very hard to find that help and that encouragement," she said. "I think today, in our society, the way that we deal with people with many medical issues, certainly with people who have some neurological or neurodevelopmental complications, is that we test and we diagnose and we do a little bit of intervention here and there. But in terms of an all-encompassing, holistic model of care, that did not exist when Jacob came along.”

O'Dell was determined to find ways to help herself and her son that would also bring relief to other parents.

Everything at Jacob's Ladder has been designed and developed with a purpose.

“What we say at Jacob's Ladder is we are the balance of science and love, the union of science and love," O'Dell added, which is why she believes the Body of Christ has a part to play in ministering to and taking care of the special needs community.

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