Zachary’s Story of Hope

Jul 1, 2013 | Uncategorized

Zachary is a happy, active 12-year-old boy who loves to play basketball. You’d never guess that, just one year ago, he struggled to make eye contact and interact with others.

Autism and cognitive impairment make speaking a tremendous challenge for Zachary.

But Hope’s speech pathologist, Emily Postelmans, is helping Zachary learn essential words through interaction and imitation. And that’s opening a whole new world for him.

“Imitation is the beginning of language development,” she explains. “Infants coo and mimic their parents’ mouth movements and Hope’s children make the same efforts to imitate. They just happen to be bigger.”

Speech therapy is programming a map in Zachary’s brain that connects words to actions. “Words are meaningless unless you can attach them to an idea,” say Emily. “‘The’ is not an important word for Zachary, but ‘bathroom’ is.”

Being able to communicate with words helps Zachary relate to others better and understand important social rules like taking turns and following directions.

“Language is changing Zachary’s life path,” Emily says. “If he can answer basic questions and express what he needs and wants, he’ll be able to live in the community, have a job and actively participate in the world. And he’s well on his way to getting there.”

Zachary’s story of Hope is just one of many you make possible by supporting the work of The Hope Institute.

Thank you for opening your heart to the needs of Hope’s amazing boys and girls.

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At Hope, we support children and families to achieve optimum growth, independence and joy.


The Hope Institute

15 East Hazel Dell Lane
Springfield, IL 62712