The Navarette Family shares how Hope helped their 7-year-old not only speak, but thrive.

This story originally aired on KSDK as part of the Show Me St Louis series


ST. LOUIS — “When I think of hope, I think of a lifeline for my little guy, I think of progress, help and development,” says the Navarette Family. “Prior to him coming here he was not speaking, he would babble a lot, and then after graduating last year, he is speaking in sentences.”


In 2020, now 7-year-old Mateo was enrolled in the preschool ABA program at the Autism Clinic at Hope. At the time, the young boy struggled with verbal communication, and now he sure does have a lot on his mind!

“He was nonverbal and now he just will not be quiet,” says the Navarette family. “We love it.”


And, it was all thanks to Hope.


“Every child learns differently, so how can we ensure we are teaching that in a way that is understandable,” says Meika Valerio, Director of Clinical Quality.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with autism. For parents, after hearing this diagnosis, it can be hard to know where to even start for your child. The Autism Clinic at Hope is committed to giving children with autism spectrum disorder, professional care and attention so that they soar.


Hope offers ABA, or applied behavior analysis, but with it, they follow one simple rule — every child is unique. So, each student learns and plays in a different way!


The clinic sees children ages 2 through 8 for their preschool ABA program. Children learn to play with peers, some learn to communicate through pictures or an iPad, others expand their verbal skills. Kids are encouraged to do activities and interact with one another. Board Certified Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians and Licensed Therapists are working with each child every step of the way. But, it is not just their titles that make the difference, it is their passion, too.


“Be patient,” says the Navarette family. “It is easy to get into this idea that it is hopeless. I do not know what to do, but we have professionals who care and are passionate here to help your children.”

 12:20 PM CDT September 7, 2023
Produced by and aired on KSDK