Monday, January 18, 2016

A Huge Milestone: Last Speech Therapy

Kai has been having speech therapy for over eight years. During that entire time, he has been working with the same wonderful speech therapist.

We met Alyson several months after Kai was diagnosed with autism. At that time, we had doubts about how much any speech therapist could help him. After all, his speech, such as it was, was limited to a few words, and he didn’t string any of them together at a time. He didn't respond to anything we said to him. The thought that we would one day be able to have a conversation with our son was a dream, and some may thought it was a pipedream.

But as Alyson worked with Kai week after week, we saw changes. Kai gained new words. And then, short sentences.

After a time, he started to respond to our questions, with just a word or two at first, but eventually with sentences.

Alyson always adapted her work to ensure that Kai kept making progress. When Kai was able to speak sentences and respond to questions, she worked on conversations - teaching Kai to continue the back-and-forth through asking relevant questions back and perspective taking.

She also worked on other aspects of speech such as understanding non-literal language. While most of us understand idioms or colloquialisms without having to think about them, a boy like Kai who had a deficit in communication skills needed extra help to understand what they meant. Alyson's work in this and other areas helped to ensure that Kai's language sounded normal, and not overly formal or processed.

Alyson periodically tested Kai through formal evaluations. These tests quantitatively measured his progress and helped her identify what to work on. She finished her latest round of testing a few weeks ago and last week we got the results – Kai’s speech was now in the normal range. He no longer needs speech therapy.

As you can imagine, we are very joyous that he has achieved this milestone. We sometimes struggle to notice all the progress Kai has made because our focus is on all the work that still needs to be done. A milestone like this reminds us of just how far he has come.

Tomorrow will be Kai's last session with Alyson. We have told him that he is ‘graduating’ from speech therapy and that Alyson will have a celebration with him to commemorate the occasion.

We are extremely grateful to Alyson. Besides being so fantastic at her job, she was always the most upbeat, enthusiastic person who Kai enjoyed seeing every week. He will miss seeing her, as will we.

But we will never forget the impact that she had on Kai. Thank you, Alyson. You are in our hearts forever.


  1. That is really great! How wonderful that you've had the same speech therapist all this time and that you liked her!

    1. We feel very blessed that Alyson came into our lives. Besides his relatives, she has been the biggest constant in Kai's life. We will always remember what she did for Kai.

  2. That is wonderful news! What an accomplishment!

  3. Yes, quite an accomplishment! Thanks, Suzanne.

  4. Quality caring persons working in the field of helping any in the ASD range is a must. They can make or break any program. It is they who do wonders. They apply knowledge and adapt to each child. It was the wonderful work of Alex's very caring ABA therapists who had led Alex to become who he is today (along with faithful parental follow through).

    Kudos to all of you. You are a team who have scored a major goal.

    1. We also had a couple of wonderful ABA therapists when Kai was young. They, and Alyson, had such a huge impact on Kai's development. We wish that all kids on the autism spectrum could have professionals like them in their lives.

  5. A huge milestone indeed.
    I'm very very happy for all of you.
    If Alyson read this post, it certainly made her day.
    Good job Kay and Alyson!
    Congratulations to Yuji and Kai's mum, too (let's face it: no therapist, no matter how good, can achieve great results without a cooperative family).


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