David’s Story

Apr 30, 2024 | Stories

When David was a toddler, he struggled to develop language skills. He had a limited vocabulary, communicated mainly with gestures and sounds to convey his wants and needs, and only with family members. Because of these concerns, David was evaluated for Early Intervention (EI) services and received speech therapy through the State of Illinois until he aged out at three. 

David’s mom, Carol, was at a loss for where to go next. With his Autism diagnosis and hyperlexic learning style, she knew he needed continued speech services. But everywhere she looked either did not take their insurance or would charge exorbitant out-of-pocket fees for therapy sessions. 

Then Carol found CHAT in her neighborhood, which changed everything. Not only was CHAT willing to provide David a scholarship, she found that CHAT was also a leader in the hyperlexia space!

David started services with CHAT in 2021. Carol’s top priority was to help David expand his ability to communicate beyond throwing or pointing at items. She wanted a place where David could come in person to increase his expressive language and be affirmed in his communication, and found it at CHAT.

For the past two years, CHAT has worked with David to increase his expressive language and vocabulary skills using effective hyperlexia strategies like writing out words, phrases, and sentences and centering activities around the alphabet. David has also been mastering his AAC device, an iPad with pictures and words that he can choose to help him communicate, which has helped increase his spontaneous use of words verbally!

David loves telling his SLP, Ms. Rachel, about the cars going up and down the ramps he builds and spelling out Disney movie titles with ABC tiles. And he clearly conveys if he doesn’t like an activity by telling us, “No!”

The progress that David has made would not have been possible without supporters like you who choose to give to CHAT.

Did you know that Autism and hyperlexia are often co-occurring? 

CHAT’s neurodiversity-affirming approach to therapy and expertise in hyperlexia sets us up to serve Autistic children in a holistic and supportive manner.