Thursday, March 10, 2011

There’s Something About Mary: Great Therapist and Much More

If I could have one wish for all families who find out that their child has autism, I would wish that they could have a Mary enter their lives.

Mary was our son’s behavioral therapist for nearly four years. But she was really much more than that. She was an advisor, consultant, counselor, teacher, and friend.

We met Mary shortly after Kai was diagnosed. We didn’t know very much about autism back then. All we knew was that Kai needed help. He needed therapy, we were told. And, Mary was recommended to us.

The first time she met Kai, she got him to respond to her, something that he rarely did with anyone at that time. She was only a year or two out of graduate school. But, she seemed very capable. She was confident that she could make a difference, and, in doing so, gave us confidence in her. We placed our trust, and Kai’s future, in her hands.

She did not let us down.

She worked with Kai three times a week in that first year. She also put together a team of therapists that came to our house so that Kai would have therapy thirty hours a week.

As a therapist, Mary was wonderful. Her goofy personality helped to foster a strong bond with Kai. But, she also was firm with him, and knew just how much to push him. She taught him to do things that we thought he might never do.

But, Mary was much more than a great teacher for our son. She taught us, too. She helped us to learn about autism, how it impacted our son, and what we could do about it. Every time we had an issue arise with Kai, we consulted Mary. And she always came up with a plan for addressing our concerns.

It was comforting to know that we would see Mary every two or three days. Mary coming over to see Kai was almost like having our own personal psychotherapist who made house calls. Sometimes she would just listen. Oftentimes she provided advice. And, when we needed it, she would provide encouragement.

On Mary’s advice, we sent Kai to a regular preschool. She went with him as his aide, but gradually, she faded her support so that he wouldn’t overly depend on her.

As time went on, our own dependence on Mary faded, too. We’ve learned a lot about autism. We feel more confident in our own abilities to deal with issues as they arise.

When Kai’s school schedule changed, he wasn’t able to see Mary on a regular basis anymore. Last night, she came over for dinner. It was the first time we had seen her in months. She marveled at how Kai had grown. We enjoyed seeing her again and getting caught up with all of her news.

She is getting married next month. She wants to start a family soon. We have no doubts that she will be an awesome mother.

And so, she is no longer Kai’s therapist. We don’t consult with her on a regular basis.

But, one thing will never change. We will always consider her a friend.

And, we will always be grateful that she entered our lives when we needed her the most.


This post was submitted for the S-O-S Best of the Best series on Therapy and Kids With Special Needs, which will be published on August 15, 2011. You find more information and read other submissions here.


  1. We had a similar experience with our whole crew of ABA therapists when our son first entered the at home therapy at the age of three (35 - 40 hrs. a week). The quality of the therapists had made all the difference in the world. We were so very fortunate to have had them. They, too, shall always be close to us in heart.

  2. What a lovely post, Yuji! You have reminded me of all the hard-working therapists that we have encountered over the years and to whom we owe so much!

  3. Amazing post and therapist
    We also have many therapists we adore
    They r just gems
    Love the picture
    So cute

  4. Such a heartfelt and inspiring post. May everyone's experience be so positive. Thx!

  5. LOVE this post! Mary reminds me of our Gen. My son's EI ABA therapist. In fact she came over this afternoon to visit. And we gossiped like old girl friends. She's become part of our family. And I feel lucky and just extremely grateful she came into our lives.

  6. Thanks, all! It's heartening to know that so many of you have also had great experiences with therapists. What would we do without them?!

  7. This is a good common sense article. Very helpful to one who is just finding the resources about this part. It will certainly help educate me.

    physical therapist schools


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