In Their Words

Four years ago my son was hospitalized three times for anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. The psychiatrists prescribed drugs, and when those didn’t work they kept prescribing more drugs. His condition continued to get worse, and the doctors did not seem to be listening to us. After six months of hanging onto life by a thread, one of the psychiatrists told us that no drugs would work for him and they didn’t have anything else to offer. This was devastating to me, because I thought with all drugs there are on the market there should be a drug that would fix whatever was going on with my son. The psychiatrist recommended I contact Dr. Beurkens as a last resort to try to help him.

Dr. Beurkens changed everything. Unlike the numerous doctors we had seen, she wanted all the medical, school, and therapy reports I had from to birth to the present time. During our initial visit it was evident she had actually read all the documents and LISTENED to us. She quickly came up with a plan to help my son improve, and made it clear that we going to be working together to solve the problems. If something wasn’t working we would create a new plan.

We began giving my son nutritional supplements, changed his diet, and started LENS neurofeedback treatment. Almost immediately we started to see some improvements in mood and function. Slowly my son was weaned off all but one of his medications (he was on 4 when we began), and he continues to benefit from that at a very low dose. Dr. Beurkens was flexible to accommodate my work schedule and the sometimes urgent issues that came up with my son.

Since he was not able to attend traditional school, he met with a mentor at her office to assist with his online schooling and to be sure he was in a safe environment while I was at work. She had regular contact with his online school, counselor, and physician. Within the first few months I watched my son start functioning as a healthy person again. He began smiling, sleeping better, eating more, engaging in activities, and his sense of humor was returning. Dr. Beurkens and his mentor built an awesome relationship with him, and that made a huge difference.

Almost three years later my son is a happy teenager with a great sense of humor. He has returned to his high school and is dual enrolled in high school and college courses. He has the energy he needs to do everything he wants to do, and even has a part time job. Recently he was accepted to multiple colleges and plans to attend one of them full-time in the fall. I am forever grateful for the care he and our family have received at Horizons.

Karen L.

Horizons has made a huge difference for our 17-year-old son and family.  We tried six other counselors before we found Horizons and Courtney, and have continued with her for four years.  Our son has high functioning autism with anxiety, and was having daily violent outbursts when we first started treatment. With LENS therapy and counseling at Horizons we have seen a calmer mood and a reduction of tics. His outbursts are now rare.  We have also been able to reduce and eliminate prescription drugs. Courtney shows caring for our entire family and uses a variety of methods to help our son. She is willing to provide support and assistance outside of our appointments, and goes above and beyond to find answers for our situation. 

Julie W.

Our family has benefitted greatly from the treatment our two children have received at Horizons. Jake has gone from communicating with only hand gestures and noises to speaking full sentences, allowing him to communicate wants and needs. His inability to understand simple phrases caused him to be reserved and easily frustrated. Now he understands what is being communicated to him, his processing time is much faster and it has led to fewer meltdowns and more meaningful interactions, especially with his sister. Ava has come from only repeating what she hears as her form of communication to being able to communicate original thoughts and feelings, allowing her to be more independent at home and participate in her general education classroom. She was terrified to leave our driveway when we started this journey but now she enjoys playing with her neighborhood friends. Her food aversions started as only eating a handful of brand specific foods to now not limiting brands/textures, having dozens of foods she enjoys at home and at restaurants as well as being open to trying new foods.

Sara G.

Several years ago my middle school aged daughter was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. We spent 4 years treating her with traditional methods (medication and counseling) but saw no real signs of her condition improving. In fact, she continued to get worse. We were desperate to get her the help she needed and were fortunate enough to get a recommendation to Horizons and Dr. Nicole Beurkens. Dr. Beurkens takes an approach unlike any other doctors we have seen. She gets to know her patients and treats the entire person, not just the symptoms. She is very responsive to communication, gets back to us quickly, and has gotten us in for urgent appointments as needed.  Within a couple of months we began to see significant signs of improvement, and now 9 months into the program her medication has been significantly reduced and she is on her way to being medication free. She has learned coping skills, has learned how to manage her anxiety, and we have hope for her future again. I would highly recommend Horizons and Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Tonya D.

When my son first started at Horizons, it was difficult for him to touch and explore food, much less taste or try it. After much hard work, we have come a long way. Now, not only does he touch and explore every different food item on his plate, he will generally taste and take a bite of each different food!

Beth K.

Dr. Beurkens is kind and compassionate. She genuinely cares about my family and our collective wellbeing. We are working with her long-distance, and she is available by phone or email whenever I need her. She is resourceful and willing to consult with other experts to chase down new things to add to our treatment plan. I knew that we needed help from someone willing to deviate from the mainstream school of thought on how to address tics. Medication exacerbated my six-year-old daughter’s condition rather than helping it. I’d read tons of stories about all these other factors that could affect tics – diet, supplements, allergies, environmental triggers, etc. – but had no idea how to systematically work through these things on my own. The anecdotal evidence was overwhelming. I needed someone to hold my hand and draw me a road map. Dr. Beurkens is that person.

Joanna G.

Our adopted son Samuel is diagnosed with autism, seizure disorder, and mild cerebral palsy. We had tried many different therapies in the past, but none gave us the amazing success we have seen through working with Courtney at Horizons. Our treatment focuses on our son as well as us as parents, and looks at all of the areas that impact our son Samuel and his daily functioning.  Horizons has helped us consider food and digestion issues, visual perception, unintegrated reflexes, oral motor needs, sensory needs, and so much more. They have helped us to piece together a wonderful home program for Samuel. They were incredibly helpful as we decided to homeschool Samuel, offering assessment and curriculum ideas.

Life has become more peaceful and fun around our home. There are challenges that often occur, but we are better equipped to deal with them and understand how to support Samuel in dealing with challenges.  We have seen Samuel have increased communication, less controlling behaviors, become more regulated in his body and relate to others more effectively. Samuel has an increased awareness of others emotions and a deep desire to have friendships. We have also seen him be able to deal with challenges and changes with greater ease.

Our lives have been forever changed for the positive as God has allowed us to find Horizons and have this tremendous amount of learning and support in so many areas of dealing with Samuel and his special needs. We highly recommend the Horizons team!

Carol and Steve S.

Through feeding therapy we have been able to improve our daughter’s comfort level around food while working on the sensory and motor issues that were barriers to successful feeding. We no longer have to take her special foods with us when we travel or go out to eat – she can now always find things on the menu that she will eat. Gone are the days when we have to worry about purchasing specific brands of the four or five things she will eat, because she has branched out to many new foods and is no longer brand-specific in her food choices. We are on the right path and see the tangible results of treatment on a daily basis.

Don and Kristi P.

When I started seeing Dr. Nicole I was going through an exceptionally trying season of life and was desperate for some help. It felt like everything was falling apart around me, and I was anxious all the time. Through a combination of traditional counseling therapy, LENS neurofeedback, and a supplement regimen I noticed dramatic changes in a relatively short amount of time. My thinking is clearer, I am more confident, I am building new thriving relationships, and I physically feel better. I am beyond grateful for Dr. Nicole and the Horizons staff. I feel good about myself and I feel good about life.

Rebecca T.

My 8-year-old son and I both started LENS on the last day of school.  I remember the specific day because our lives began to improve after that day.  My son Josh has struggled for as long as I can remember with attention, anxiety, irritability, behavior and learning differences.  Our biggest challenges at home were regarding his irritability and anxiety.  I always felt as if I were walking on eggshells, not sure what would set him off or if a change in plans would mean a complete melt-down.  We limited trips and activities because just leaving the house seemed to be so stressful for him.  He had been diagnosed with ADHD and we had tried several medications, but he continued to struggle with these issues.  Then, he started LENS.

I have to tell you that I was extremely skeptical.  I did not want to try LENS.  The idea of using neurofeedback with my young son’s brain scared me.  I spent hours researching LENS on the internet, trying to find some negative information about it that would convince me not to try it.  I spent several therapy sessions questioning our clinician about LENS, as she really felt that it could benefit Josh.  In the end I was only able to find positive information about LENS and I really trusted our clinician, so I decided to take a deep breath and try.  Nothing else had helped to the extent that we needed and I wanted so much for things to get better.

I asked if I could participate as well because I wanted to feel the effects for myself.  The changes for Josh were significant and almost immediate.  I noticed within the first week that he complained much less when it was time to go somewhere.  Within the first month, his irritability decreased significantly.  Meltdowns became rare.  Josh started smiling more often, he began to look at people when they spoke to him.  He chose to go outside and play with his sister and friends instead of playing alone inside.  He began to actually look forward to events.  He asked to join soccer.  When a change in plans happened, he was able to deal with it.  Six weeks after starting LENS, we made the decision to take him off all of his medications.  He has not been on them for months and we are still seeing these positive effects without medication.

The effects for me were also positive.  I found that I seemed to worry about things less.  I had more energy and more patience and I generally felt more optimistic about life.  I finally began an exercise program and I have stuck with it.

Josh started back to school a couple of weeks ago.  I have heard from several teachers, including the librarian and a cafeteria worker that Josh really seems to have come out of his shell and seems to be so much happier. Josh IS so much happier.  He smiles at me and waves when I see him in the hall.  I feel like I am getting to know a little boy that was trapped inside and could not get out.  LENS has helped him come out.  Things are not perfect.  He still struggles with learning and can be anxious and irritable.  There is still the occasional meltdown.  But, it is manageable now.  I can actually talk to him about things in a way that I never could before.  I have hopes for him that were hard to have before.  As I said, I was a true skeptic and I was very scared to try LENS.  I am thankful every day that I did.

Kate O.

Within 6 months, my daughter’s speech has remarkably improved through the services she receives from Erin at Horizons.  She is excited to go to appointments and also to practice at home with the fun games and activities provided to us.  The best part is watching her confidence grow as her speech improves.

Marne B.

Horizons couldn’t have come along at a better time in our lives. Their program has given us the ability to have an effective and meaningful relationship with our son, who has Tuberous Sclerosis, and it has taught us how to enrich that relationship. It definitely has connected us with our son and it has positively changed our outlook for the future.

Working with our clinician at Horizons has allowed us to get through to our son, who previously was lost in a world of spinning fans, flipping pages of books, and ignoring what everyone else was doing. He now feels more competent, as evidenced by his willingness to try new things. He has become more aware of the people around him, especially his family members. He knows rules and boundaries and the consequences for breaking those rules. Jacob loves to help out around the house, including unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, and raking leaves with us. We still have a lot to work on, and are reminded daily of the struggles that remain, but we feel so much better knowing that we are on the right path. We have learned how to communicate with Jacob effectively and how to help him engage in activities with us. Just knowing that we have the tools and understanding to help him continue to grow has helped us relax and feel more competent and hopeful.

The Horizons Developmental Resource Center has given us a new outlook. It is hard work, and it takes patience and time. However, the payoff is more than worth it!

Tim and Jill M.

I just wanted to share my deep regard and admiration for Horizons Developmental Resource Center, Dr. Nicole Beurkens and Courtney Kowalczyk. Dr. Beurkens reached out to me after hearing of my frustration about not being able to find support for my son, who received an Asperger Syndrome diagnosis at 10 years of age, but also for my husband and myself. We could barely pronounce Asperger’s, let alone understand its complexities or how it would affect our son and our family, and had struggled for more than a year to find productive assistance.

Help arrived when we connected with Horizons, and we felt relieved and supported with the resources of such dedicated professionals and with such a groundbreaking center on our side. Over the past few months, we, our son’s teachers and others within our circle of family and friends have been amazed at the positive changes that our son has undergone in his life. We feel much more confident in our knowledge and abilities as his parents to support him as we enter the teen years. Courtney always went above and beyond to answer our questions, direct us to valuable resources and provide us with knowledge and confidence that will benefit our entire family for years to come. We highly recommend Horizons to any family of a special needs child for their knowledge, effective programs, sincere desire to support and guide and – most powerful of all – to truly understand and connect.

Dawn M.

Courtney Kowalczyk has been more of a blessing to our family than I can say.  Our son has complex special needs that we have struggled to obtain an accurate diagnostic picture of for years.  We found Horizons, oddly enough, after doing a national search through extended family and friends, because we had reached a crisis point in meeting our son’s educational needs.  Courtney’s wealth of experience both as a psychologist and as a special education teacher gave her the professional expertise to fully assess and establish a treatment plan for our son’s needs, and to make recommendations for his educational programming.  Her warmth, authenticity, and genuine commitment to our family have empowered a deep connection between her and our son that continues to help all of us to evolve together, so that he can reach his fullest potential.  Since he began working with her his sleep has improved, his diet has been even, and he has begun to move developmentally after being stuck for years.  Friends and family notice him being more engaged and outgoing, more relaxed, easier to redirect, and invested in learning new skills.  His language development and drive to communicate has begun to take off.

Courtney has gone above and beyond for our family.  She has been an educator, a counselor, and a skilled advocate in the community.  She has helped us to put our best foot forward with the many professionals who have needed to collaborate on his behalf, especially in our efforts to advocate for his educational needs.  She is patient, thoughtful, wise, and encouraging.  She sees our son as a whole child and has helped us to enrich his life physically, emotionally, and developmentally.  For the first time in his life I feel confident that he has everything he needs to progress and to fulfill his potential, and we owe that to Courtney.  

It is easy as a parent of a child with special needs to feel isolated, alone, and overwhelmed by the systems the child needs to access to thrive.  Our family has been lucky to have had the love and support of many people on our journey, but it took us ten years to find people with the expertise and will to understand every aspect our son’s development, and who were able to connect us with the full range of resources that would help him.  The relief I feel to have Courtney to go to when we hit a bump or arrive at a complex new transition point is beyond words.  I wish we had found her ten years ago, and am so grateful that we found her when we did.


My family has been involved with Horizons for the last five years. It is not an understatement to say that the experience has been completely life altering for us. As parents with a child on the spectrum, and other children with their own learning issues, we spent a long time seeking a path on our own – doing everything we could think of, read about, wonder, or imagine. In other words, lots of bad advice. Dr. Nicole Beurkens and her team have walked this road before, know what works and what doesn’t, what matters, and what to let go. She encouraged our children to be themselves and encouraged us as parents to let them. And it works.

Tom G.