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  The Awareness Option® Foundation, Inc.
It is the mission of The Awareness Option Foundation to be a catalyst for improving the health and quality of life of people from all cutural backgrounds who are economically, socially or physically challenged, or who suffer from chronic illness. Committed to holistic healing, the Foundation underwrites programs and develops community partnerships which support experience-based health education opportunities.
Barbara Merrill
Jeanenne Webb
Jeannine Seamons
Joan Feil
Jack Gardner
Jolee Nowers
Teresa Okada
Tori Skiles

August, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

Twelve and one half years ago, three agents and I were in a car returning from court in Washington, D.C. We were stopped at a red traffic light when a large Mack truck with failed brakes rear-ended the right tail-end of our car. I was seated in the front passenger seat at the time of impact in a rather contorted position attempting to ascertain from what source the strange sounds I was hearing coming down the hill close behind us were originating.

Within moments after impact, I knew that I had sustained apparent soft tissue, neurological, and a sundry of other injuries, but little did I know that the blow to our car from the truck had caused debilitating “contra cue” closed head brain injury and would completely take my life, as I knew it, away. I knew I needed emergency assistance, but I didn’t realize how seriously I was hurt. So I waited until the accident scene was processed before presenting myself to a local hospital near my home. Within days, however, my functioning, health, and well-being began to substantially deteriorate, and I became progressively worse with each day. This pattern of sliding down what seemed like a never ending slippery slope of multiple health related issues and dysfunction continued for at least seven and one half years. During this period, a significant amount of my time was spent asleep due to involuntary shut-down of my brain. The rest of the time I was up and about, but unconscious of my awaken state and actions – something akin to a “walking coma” I suppose, or I was existing in a complete fog. Each of these episodes would last for weeks and months at a time. I also had no short term memory to speak of, and what tidbits did exist, I could not differentiate if they were real, imagined, or the memories of others that had been related to me.

Because I was the only one seriously injured in the accident, and because a change in ranking superiors who did not personally know me and my high standard of work ethics and integrity and who were entertaining their own personal belief systems and agendas, a campaign of “psychological warfare” was immediately waged against me. This war was under the premise that I was “faking” everything. This continued intensely for at least the next seven and one half years.

Within the next six months, I attempted to endure serious unrelenting occupational abuse, where my character, competency, and human dignity were ferociously attacked. My eighteen plus years of stellar, highly-decorated, honorable performance was hurtfully, falsely, and viciously attacked, and rewritten. My financial resources were frozen, and all the while dealing with compounding physical auto accident injuries and pain. I finally succumbed to emotional collapse. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and mood disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Major Depression Disorder, and later on brain injury.

I lost my job and retirement, my home and family, and became so unable to function I required a companion to live with me to perform or assist me to perform the most simple, regular activities of daily living, to ensure I was receiving my medical care, and to oversee my welfare given my state of consciousness. I also experienced severe episodes of depression, suicidally, and unbearable anguish at the loss of my life and loved ones. I developed extreme phobias, became intensely sensitive to light, sound, and the “hustle and bustle” of public places and its fast movement and speech. Eye contact with others was impossible and my ability to speak and express myself eventually diminished to a very rudimentary level. If I were forced into these environments or actions, I would become very agitated, more dysfunctional, and would either break-out into a tantrum-like state or totally, involuntarily shutdown or withdraw mentally and physically. These forced conditions also caused physical pain deep within my brain that worsened with the intensity of efforts and demands.

Yet despite my level of mental, emotional, and physical dysfunction, and long episodes of disassociation during those first seven and one half years, I toiled with every fiber of my being and intelligence, during better moments, to develop coping techniques to perform as much safe and basic functioning as I could and to bring some semblance of quieting and healing of my physical and emotional pain. And then in the spring of 2004, a major breakthrough came when a friend insisted that I move to Utah with her family to get away from the numerous and difficult triggers that existed for me in the Washington, DC area.

Upon moving to Utah and with the help of my friend, I found a therapist that I believed might be able to assist me in healing and also manage my case with the federal disability program. Because of my cognitive dysfunction, long periods of disassociation, extreme phobias, and mistrust and volatile moods, traditional psychotherapy was not indicated. This therapist was trained in a variety of non-traditional therapy techniques, including light hands-on energy work. I began working with her twice a week in June of 2004. By December 2004, I was able to let my companion go and live and manage myself on my own. I could drive, cook, travel, and make phone calls for arranging my own appointments and such. Since that time, I have continued a steady course of improvement in my presence, cognitive ability, speech, eye contact, confidence, emotional stability, developing my spirituality, faith and knowledge of healing and reconstituting my sense of humor and connections with family and friends.

As I began to have significant breakthroughs, I began to think and feel strongly that if this therapist was able to help me with my brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that she could surely assist my 11 year old autistic daughter with her brain dysfunction. So, in the summer of 2006, I was well enough to have my daughter, Ashley, come and live with me for the summer. I took her to see this therapist twice a week for June, July, and half of August. We saw improvement in her behavior within three sessions. But, then she returned to Washington, DC to live with her other parent and her progress stagnated. The next year, June of 2007, my daughter came to live with me for the entire year. I took her to the therapist twice a week nearly every week for this whole year. I also followed some other healing protocols for allergies and detoxification. In this year of treatment we saw the following improvements and changes:

  1. Within the first three sessions, Ashley began to organize her sensory information so that she didn’t feel the therapist’s touch as a tickle or pain but as loving, safe touch.
  2. Within the first three sessions, Ashley initiated a “joke” on me at home; and has pulled other jokes on me since.
  3. Within the first three sessions, Ashley was able to give the therapist repeated, unsolicited direct eye contact.
  4. Soon after the initial sessions, Ashley started saying more words and began speaking in short but meaningful sentences.
  5. Ashley started to exhibit more socially acceptable behavior, i.e. waiting calmly, not as easily stressed or overwhelmed with demands of her, not exhibiting tantrums, saying more of what she wanted, showing the therapist some of her things, and sharing with the therapist.
  6. Ashley started being more independent, making choices for herself related to meals, clothing, and activity selections. She even started serving herself second helpings of food and self-initiated putting empty pans into the sink and filling them with water.
  7. Ashley’s verbal tics decreased.
  8. Ashley’s motor control and gait improved and her muscle spasticity also decreased.

After several months of treatments with this therapist both the therapist and I began to intuit that there were other treatments that I could be doing with Ashley to supplement and enhance the work she was doing. So, for the next eight months or so I also provided Ashley with the following healing opportunities:

  1. I took Ashley to a BioSet practitioner for allergy clearing.
  2. I used the Hanna Kroeger method of detoxification.
  3. I took Ashley to the Sensory Dynamics Institute for their program.
  4. I continued to supplement Ashley’s diet with the nutrients she had been prescribed for several years by a Certified Nutritionist.

The experience with the therapist’s modalities coupled with the enhancement programs mentioned above moved both the therapist and me to design and commit to offering a healing service project through The Awareness Option Foundation. This project will entail the TAO Foundation Facilitators joining with 12 children living with autism and their families and offering 10 TAO Energy Work sessions for the children, three of which will be with the parents and three workshops for the parents. The workshops will consist of sensitivity training and self-care, education of healing options to explore, and training in TAO Energy Work to do with their children on an on-going basis.

I encourage you to give this healing opportunity a chance for your child as well as yourself. Ashley’s and my experiences with this therapist have given us both a better quality of life and our improvement continues to date.


Tori Skiles

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