From the shadows of non-verbal communication to the light of expressive language, Gregory's life underwent a heartening metamorphosis, thanks to the dedicated efforts of AZA's Speech therapy team.
Gregory, a spirited and vibrant first grader, came into the care of AZA during the early days of the pandemic. Born prematurely, his journey into the world was marked by complexities that required extensive medical interventions and prolonged hospitalization. However, Gregory's hurdles were not confined to his early arrival; he struggled with emotional dysregulation, leading to frequent meltdowns and intense outbursts. His family faced challenges in transitioning him to new experiences and places due to these emotional challenges, and his non-verbal state made communication a significant hurdle.
The turning point in Gregory's story began with the introduction of speech therapy. Over the course of 2 years, Gregory embarked on a path towards communication, led by the dedicated efforts of his speech therapist, Jules. The journey wasn't without its challenges, but the growth was undeniable. In just six months, Gregory's communication skills started to blossom, signaling the dawn of a new era in his life.
As part of a pioneering approach, the therapy team at AZA embraced child-led, play-based techniques, focusing on the foundations of Gestalt language processing, through interaction and engagement. This innovative approach allowed Gregory to flourish at his own pace, eventually leading him to repeat and express phrases independently. A significant milestone was reached when Gregory outgrew his AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) device within months of using it, a testament to the progress he was making.
With each session, Gregory's confidence soared, and his communication skills continued to develop. Today, Gregory's journey continues to be one filled with moments of triumph and growth. His mother, once fraught with uncertainty, has witnessed a transformation that has left her elated and hopeful. No longer confined to the house, they embark on outings to the store and even joyful trips to the pumpkin patch.
Gregory's progress has not only brightened his own path but has also paved the way for exciting opportunities. Scheduled for testing in the talented and gifted program at school, he now stands on the threshold of even more remarkable achievements.
At the heart of Gregory's remarkable journey stands Juliann, known as Jules, a dedicated SLPA with a passion for her work that radiates through every interaction. With a background spanning nearly two decades in the field of special needs, Jules found her calling in helping children find their voice and unlock the power of communication.
For Jules, the decision to pursue speech therapy was driven by a deep connection to the world of special needs. Her journey, marked by unwavering dedication and a genuine love for the children she works with, led her to AZA. Choosing this path over the traditional nursing route was a testament to her belief in the transformative power of communication and language.
The story of Gregory's journey through speech therapy is a testament to the power of persistence, innovation, and unwavering dedication. It is a story of a young boy who found his voice and an entire family whose lives were transformed by the boundless potential of communication. Gregory's story is a reminder that with the right guidance and support, miracles are not only possible but are waiting to unfold in the lives of those who dare to dream.
Contact our Family Support Team if you would like to learn how to get started with Speech Therapy or any other programs and services that we offer. Our Family Support Team is always available to help and is available at no charge to all members of the autism and developmental disability community. Schedule a free phone appointment that works with your schedule: azaunited.org/supportcall
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