Breaking through the silence of autism: Sadiq’s story

“I want water flavored.”

Those were the first words that 7-year-old Sadiq said to his mom, Bethany, using his augmentative communication device.

Sadiq is on the autism spectrum and is completely non-verbal. However one day, as he sat next to his mom who was ordering groceries online, he grabbed her hand to signal her to return to the previous screen containing his favorite treat.

Upon hearing about this, the therapists and teachers at the YCS Sawtelle Learning Center did an evaluation to see if Sadiq could do even more with an augmentative device. The results were encouraging, and they began teaching him how to use the device at school.

When the state ordered a shutdown in March, Sadiq’s in-person lessons had to stop. In order to sustain his progress, YCS staff prepared individualized lessons that his parents could implement 3-4 times a day at home. Even then, mom Bethany knew that Sadiq would regress without the one-on-one therapy sessions provided at the Sawtelle center.

In September, Sawtelle staff made the decision to keep the school open full-time for any family that requested in-person learning for their child. The Abrams were elated. As a result, Sadiq has made great strides despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“It means the world to me that Sadiq will have the ability to fully communicate,” said Bethany. “We now have a window of hope.”

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