More than 20 years ago when Joseph Raymond was born prematurely, the future looked bleak. Little Raymond suffered both brain damage and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
"For the first four years, we struggled to find out basic questions," said Joseph's father, Joe.
A new father at the time, Joe remembers asking the tough questions that seemed to never have an answer.
"What can we expect from Joseph? What is he going to do? What's the path that he needs to go down?" Joe pondered more than two decades ago.
Joe and his wife, Vicky, found little to no help — until Vicky's parents introduced them to a unique program from Europe. They found help in Hungary. The assistance proved so beneficial that the couple brought teachers to Florida and eventually opened the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO).
"There's three main components," Joe says of CECO. "One is the physical, second is the cognitive, and the third is the social. And if you don't focus on all three in trying to better the child and maximize their potential, then it's going to leave a gap and they're never really going to meet that potential."
The program began as a summer program, helping out six children. Today, CECO has grown to help 50 children a week.
In a world where everything is done for constant reinforcement, no accomplishment is too small.
"To many, it looks like he doesn't do a lot, but he does," Vicky Raymond says.
She is quick to point out the victories: "He truly does a lot. He's healthy, he's happy, he's active."
Now based inside a 5,000-square-foot facility, the Raymonds are thinking big. Eventually, they would like to take over an entire complex in Winter Park. The grounds would then employ the people who CECO helps.
CECO offers school programs for students ages 5 to 21. Classes for adults with traumatic brain injuries, those battling Parkinson’s and stroke victims are in the works.
"Every child has a chance here, an opportunity to grow. And if Joseph's growth means he's picking up this ball and he's saying, 'Dad,' then that's growth for him, and we will take that," Vicky says.