I’m Thankful for You: My Son’s Therapists

(Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Judy Young and is part of Cooper’s, ‘I’m Thankful For You’ Campaign.)

I would like to honor and thank my son’s speech therapist, Danielle Cupryk-Novascone and his occupational therapist, Julie Morrow.  I couldn’t pick just one of them.  They’re a team!

A bit about our family and our autism journey. My name is Judy Young.  My husband, Bill Young, and I live in Independence, Missouri, with our six year old Billy.  Billy was diagnosed with Autism in April.  His social and language delays became more apparent when he entered pre-K at age four.  If Asperger’s was still diagnosed, that would be his diagnosis.  He is on the high functioning side, is verbal, but struggles with language and social aspects.

After months of convincing the school to do some testing, we went out on our own and he was diagnosed with an expressive and receptive language delay. Our children’s hospital has a huge waiting list, so I searched the Internet and found the Joshua Center and Danielle.  The Joshua Center is an amazing not for profit that treats kiddos with a wide range of disorders, including autism.  We are so lucky to have found her and to find the Joshua Center, a place that feels like home!

The school finally diagnosed Billy with educational autism in March, which set us on the path of an IEP and additional services at school.  After further testing we went through medical testing and confirmed that our son has autism.

I want to honor them because they work hard every session to help us connect with our son.  We know he is a smart, sweet and thoughtful boy, but the words he wants to say are stuck inside his head.  He also needs help learning how to manage his emotions.  They never have an off day!  Everyday, they work hard with our son to teach him the tools he needs to continue to connect with the world around him.  They are a huge part of the team we’ve build to tackle autism and the challenges that come with it.

Julie and Billy

In less than a year, these two amazing ladies have changed our lives so much.  We’ve connected with our son, seen him overcome his disinterest in expressing feelings, experienced him playing with friends more and most of all, connect with his family.  We have seen him initiate conversations with new people and learn more about how to socialize with his peers.  We see improvement every day!

Danielle and Billy

In addition to all of that, they are coaches and mentors to us as parents, helping us to deal with situations at home and school by providing tools, advice, encouragement and guidance.  Every time we hit a low spot in the autism roller coaster, they are there to remind us the next big climb is coming soon.  They are OUR therapists as much as they are our son’s.  They give us hope that our son will have a bright future.

The best part of all is that we are getting to know our amazing son and the world is too.  We are getting to hear Billy’s voice more each day.  There is nothing else we could ask for.


You can still nominate the doctors, therapists, teachers, friends and family that make a difference in your special needs world. Click HERE to learn how!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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