MCBAIN — Christie Bohne, 22, has lived in Mexico, Uzbekistan, Israel and Germany.
And now she has traveled all the way to McBain for a special program offered by Northern Michigan Christian School.
“Christie has thus had an unusual childhood, and much opportunity to travel and see many parts of the world,‘ her father, Brent Bohne, said in an email.
Brent Bohne is a retired U.S. diplomat, now working for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The family lives in a small German village near Ramstein Air Base, where he works as a political advisor.
Christie Bohne was born prematurely in Minnesota and suffered a stroke at 1-day old, leading to her cerebral palsy and being tri-plegic, which means only one of four limbs functions normally. She uses a walker or wheelchair and has limited use of her right arm and hand.
“Nonetheless, she has lived and thrived in many different environments,‘ her father said.
Primrose Bohne, her mother, said Christie Bohne has some neurological issues close to traits of autism, which can’t be quite diagnosed.
“It’s the brain and not everybody has the answers,‘ she said.
She said her daughter did well in high school but wasn’t quite ready for college yet.
They signed her up for classes in an overseas University of Maryland campus and it took her 4 years to get a 2-year associate’s degree.
The young woman breezed through classes she liked like math and psychology. Her mom described her as a “math nerd" and the two will joke with each other in French, German, Spanish and Russian.
But classes with analytical thinking were a little harder, like reading and writing.
Later, toward the end of the associate’s degree, Christie Bohne was really struggling with a writing class and it was taking a toll on the whole family.
“We needed to get past this and find a way to help her,‘ her mother said.
So they got Christie into the Arrowsmith Program at NMCS.
NMCS is one of 32 schools in the United States to offer the program for students with learning disabilities, according to the school’s website.
The program is designed to strengthen weak cognitive areas of the brain that are the underlying cause of many learning disabilities to help students become effective, confident and self-directed learners.
“It is based on the science of neuroplasticity - the ability of the brain to change," the website states.
Each student in the program is given an assessment to identify his or her specific learning difficulties and the program is designed around their needs.
Christie Bohne said she does brain training activities at school. She does five activities a day that are interspersed with classes she audits or participates in without being graded.
The program could take Christie Bohne 2 to 4 years.
By the end of the program, it might be easier for her to do certain things, she said.
Her mom said there’s not any guaranteed outcome, but she struggles with anything that’s not concrete, “so we’re hoping that that gets better.‘
“So we just really don’t know the outcome,‘ she said, but they have hope.
Christie Bohne said she wants to be on the Wheel of Fortune one day. She likes Jeopardy too, but said it doesn’t have as much action.
She said she loves the American winter and she’s excited to get the “‘Murican‘ experience.
When asked if it was hard to leave her daughter here for school, Primrose Bohne said yes and no.
It is hard because she misses her terribly. But as they become older parents they are focusing on giving Christie Bohne every opportunity to make a life for herself.
“Making sure she’s alright is our priority,‘ she said.
“We just want her to be happy and settled.‘