TESTIMONIAL FROM SHAWN’S MOM, AYUMI KASAI
“Those heart-breaking moments seem like distant memory….” Ayumi
We started our journey of intervention with Prudence when Shawn was 4 years old after his diagnosis. This has helped Shaun take away the embarrassment he used to feel when talking. He did not have to worry about his friends/peers saying that he “talks funny” or “sounds different” now. Those heart-breaking moments seem like distant memories, and our family is thankful for our experience. Prudence’s contribution was much appreciated, for we’d never have made this progress, certainly not on our own nor through my child’s school speech therapy programs.
The earlier foundation provided Shawn with a smooth transition into Special Education through public schools in Upstate New York in the United States. The NY State provides special education through the age of 21 in High School where they focus on independent living and skill along with academic needs. Shawn took regular classes in an integrated program with Arts, Gym, and Photography. Shawn continued to be integrated into mainstream classes subsequently. His growing confidence was gratifying to all of us.
Shawn graduated from Ballston Spa High School in Upstate New York in June 2022. He is currently in the process of starting the Pre-Vocational Program through New York State, where he will work with a Job Coach to learn and be trained at local retailers, libraries, schools etc. He hopes to work in landscaping as he enjoys being outside in nice weather.
As a parent, I am so grateful for all the teachers, therapists, doctors, and nurses through Shawn’s journey.
Graduated New York State Skills & Achievement Commencement Credential (non-diploma) in June 2022
Interned and worked at a local food pantry, library, and art museum in Upstate NY
In the process of starting Pre-vocational Services through New York State that prepare for employment in a competitive work environment as well as the integrated community settings.
Prudence’s note on Shawn
I remember Shawn as an adorable 4-year-old. We worked on increasing dynamic thinking skills and increasing play and communication skills.
There was very little experience sharing language, and joint attention when I first met Shawn. Shawn’s parents were also very receptive of guided participation during parent training. He gradually made quite a bit of progress – in attention, regulation, and referencing.
As therapists, our clients provided many opportunities for us to learn about the best ways of remediation. I remember leaving a video recording running while I went to retrieve a toy from a cabinet. During this time, the reel captured Shawn attempting to extract a box that was stuck inside another box. When he finally had that figured out, his face registered the biggest delight I had ever seen. It brought to my attention how important it is to help the child feel a sense of competence. The opportunities presented, in the form of Guided Participation went a long way in increasing self-esteem, and resilience to keep going at it even when the going gets tough. That resilience itself is precious.
Although I have not seen Shawn for a long time since the family migrated, I am heartened by the positive journey he has been having. The journey continues – and I am reminded that I am only playing a small role amidst the work of many other therapists he has in the US. I thank the parents for their kind words and compliments.
The real credit should really be on the parents themselves, with their sound decision-making, in ensuring he has the best opportunities and in creating an environment where competence develops through real-life immersion. I remember Ayumi’s Christmas card one year when Shawn had the opportunity to find internship work at a candy store. Life is about celebrating successes, no matter how small.
We thank Ayumi, Shawn, and the family for sharing their journey and allowing us to reminisce on the past. Your recollection of this valuable journey will be helping parents of newly diagnosed children find faith during their uncertain, tough early years when their diagnosis is first received.
With much thanks and love,
Prudence Low (Speech-language Pathologist)