May Institute

Seeing Potential and Measuring Success, One Child at a Time

Four-year-old Adam was wise enough to see beyond his classmate’s limitations. To him, Abby was full of potential.

Abby was diagnosed with autism. The inability to communicate is one of the symptoms of autism that most isolates children like Abby with this complex disability. It is one of autism’s many mysteries.

In a preschool classroom in one of May Institute’s special education schools, where very young children with autism and their typically developing peers learn and grow together, Adam was drawn to this quite, detached little girl who couldn’t speak and didn't interact with the other children. She would often cry in frustration because she couldn’t express her needs. Adam was a confident, engaging, and insightful little boy, and they gradually formed a special relationship where her lack of speech didn’t matter.

A visitor was watching them play together and asked Adam if he knew why Abby didn’t talk. Without hesitation, Adam responded, “She hasn't found her words yet.” And it was true.

“It was so hard seeing Abby being so quiet and so shy because she couldn’t communicate,” her mother Jolie remembers. Abby’s Teachers worked intensively to teach her communication skills as she slowly acclimated to her classroom and her peers.

Jolie remember that one day “Abby just woke up and started talking.” It was just a few words, but they changed everything.

That was three years ago. Two or three words at a time, Abby began expressing her needs. She has made steady progress, and has shown that she is full of the potential Adam saw in her.

“Abby is the most lovely, happy, intelligent, artistic little girl you will ever meet,” her mother says. “She is my gift, my sunshine, she is my everything. Who Abby has become is because of you.”