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Hopeism from National Autism Association: "Non-Verbal" Child Speaking!

Yesterday, we told you about the 2009 National Autism Association Conference in Florida this November. The video below is a gorgeous advertisement for why you should attend the conference. This beautiful, nine year old child was non-verbal until just weeks ago.

Her Mom has attended every National Autism Association Conference. Because this child is Aly Fournier, daughter of NAA President Wendy Fournier. The video is called "Aly's Letters." Just see if you can stop smiling while you watch this. 

From Wendy on 7/24/09: Friends, I have a miracle to share with you! It's all about Hopeism. My daughter Aly is 9 years old and severely injured by her vaccines - diagnosis: Autism. She has never had functional language. I have a recording on my computer of her saying Mama when she was about 11 months old. I haven't heard it since. The last 7 years have been more difficult than I can say, but many of you don't need an explanation, you're living it.

When Aly was diagnosed, I hit the ground running. I soaked up everything I could about autism, vaccine injury, therapies, biomedical treatments, attended conferences, asked a million questions, talked to doctors and other parents, spent sleepness nights searching Pubmed. I was absolutely convinced that she would be perfectly fine and recovered by First Grade.

First grade came and went, she'll be a 4th grader this fall. She's been making slow progress over the last couple of years, but painfully slow and no big "Wows". She's finally potty trained which I am extremely grateful for! She's sleeping through the night, with rare exceptions. She's using picture exchange to make very basic requests, but is still unable to tell us how she feels, or if something hurts.

This past winter was so hard. I looked at her one day and really saw her. It hit me like a truck how sick she is, and I started grieving for everything that's been stolen from her and our family. The holidays, dreaded birthdays that simply mark the passage of another year without recovery, the joy of having friends, going to the movies, being able to play outside without the worry of her running into the street, and family vacations? Not even a possibility.

Enough of that, I'll get to the good stuff. This past week, my non-verbal little girl started SAYING letters. Looking at them, pointing to them, and getting the sounds to come out of her mouth. She's never been able to do anything like this before. It's AMAZING! I've been hesitant to even say anything about it because I'm so terrified that it will go away. But I need to share this with all of you who have been fighting so long. When Aly's 9th birthday came and went, I was beginning to wonder if she would ever be able to find her voice. And now she has! Hope has been dumped all over me and I'm filled with excitement about what's to come!

Update – 2 weeks later:  Aly is now verbally labeling all of her letters, numbers to 10, and naming about 35 objects and people - including Mommy!  She has also started using her voice to request her favorite things – showers and cookies!

Lee Silsby logo 09 The treatment category is sponsored by Lee Silsby, the leader in quality compounded medications for autism.



AMAZING! And Beautiful! HOW? Please share my little guy is 9 and non-verbal. He tries to hard but can't make words.


Tears! This was beautiful! My precious girl is 4 nonverbal, now I have hope!


Dear Wendy!
Thank you for this wonderful video! It gives me hope for my 7 years daughter old who is non verbal as well. Receptive and expressive language are non existent on top of gross and fine motor delays. She is 100% dependent on an adult for all her daily living activities. I am doing researches day and night to find out how to help my daughter acquire some communication skills. In August 2012 she was able to say "mama" for at least 3 weeks. I never heard it again ever since. I get tired mentally, emotionally and physically but I am not giving up! Miracles do exist and you and Ally are living it. I am soo happy for your family!

Colleen Joseph

My son Neal turned 10 this year, he is non-verbal. I told my self to stop pushing and take baby steps with him. He recently became potty trained and nothing amaze me like seeing him wake up in the middle of the night and ran to use the bathroom.

I want to believe that, the baby steps we are taking are working out for us and who knows our next step would be like that of your little Beautiful Girl. Thanks for Sharing this very inspirational story. I needed to hear that.

Dana Read

Awesome! Thanks sooo much for sharing. We are focusing our interventions on the same things and are just starting to see/hear tiny bits of hope. Here's to HOPEISM for ALL in the New Year:)!!!!!!!!


Wonderful ALYYYYY ... Keep up the great work...

Tell Mommy that there is a chance for a family vacation out there. If you can find words Mommy can find vacation **smiles** Tell mom about this website...


I am going to be taking my children on this cruise ship that does specific cruises for people and families with Autism... The staff are trained and also have spots for service dogs .. Sounds like so much fun.

I have two children with Autism my daughter didn't speak untill around age 6 ... She is now 9 and speaking full sentences and non-stop! Thank god!

Beck of luck!



The only things that stand between a person and what they want in life are the will to try it, and the faith,strength and courage to believe it's possible.

Keep up the great work with your daughter!

pamela head

i just fell inlove with your little girl she is so sweet and smart. i have a daughter who is 27 years old. and iprayer for and do the son-rise and biomedical treatment my daughter talks and reads. this week of her birthday the next day my daughter said and expressed herself better i let her doctors and receptions hear her she is doing better.i prayer for allof this parents. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. i forgot there's a book by karen mayer cunningham

Barbara O'Donnell

I also have a nine year old daughter and feel like I have tried everything under the sun. How did you achieve this? Barbara


I couldn't smile at all, all I could do was cry for joy!!!!

Patrice Shennette

All your hard work and never giving up makes you a hero for your daughter but sharing it with us makes you an angel..The angel of Hope!
Thanks so very much!


I am speech less and with tears in my eyes but I can't cry coz I am man and man not suppose to. Everyday dealing wiht my 4 year old is tough but hope is the main ingredient of this circusmstances which keep holding me to keep it up doesn't matter what doctor said or other said. Coz I belived if drop of a water able to panitrate in the piece of rock then why not our kids, they are human and they do have brain, they don't born with this, somehow something cause it. Our sons n daughters will evetually heals with this wounds. But it will take our time, efforts, kind and unconditional love. - Thank a lot for lil joy!!!!!!!

Jeff Ransom


Wow, let me say it louder WOW, tears are coming down my face so much as I am trying to type this I truly am afraid I may short out my labtop. I have wished this for you thousands of times, you have done so much for so many children, (including mine) but up until now you had got so little.

Congratulations I could not be happier for you & your family!

Ricardo Linares

Hi wendy:

You are living a "Miracle", God bless your child, you and your hole family. Thank you for sharing this memorable event, and I will pray for you in order that you get more and more events like this.
You give us a lot of hope
Thanks again!!!


Tears of joy! Thanks for the HOPE!


Congratulations!!!!! Big smiles :)


I was a smiling fool! How beautiful! Congratulations!! Her voice is beautiful. She is so cute and you are so deservant. It is our turn. Your recovery is right around the corner. I am so happy for you. Thank you for sharing with us. It gives the rest of us parents of "older" kids hope.
Kerri Rivera
Puerto Vallarta Mexico


Wohoo! You go Aly! Mine still isn't speaking at six; this gives me LOTS of hope! Thanks for this so much, AoA!

Glenda James

Ali's video is a wonderful sign of hope to you and your family and definately to others who just keep on going to try and recover their non-verbal severely autistic children. I cried my eyes out when I read your story as I can relate to it so much. Autism is not easy, it is the most terrible affliction to a family, but the people who still wish and pray for recovery even when the odds are so against them and keep trying keep studying keep reading etc. are wonderful angels for their very sick children. My heart breaks every moment of every day with the hurt of seeing my 6 year old daughter just keep regressing even though we have been treating her biomedically for nearly 2 years. we are missing something i just know it and I will not give up. My two older children have constant broken hearts too seeing Claire so disfunctional. I pray everyday for Claire and others like her, but I don't want Autism/sickness to win. You are amazing parents, keep going.

Jacey Capurso

I cannot wait to see more!! Please continue to send us all the videos of hope!! Please keep posting. You have made us all a part of your incredible experience ..... and your amazing daughter as she fights back from autism. Our kids are incredible as they work so hard to come back to us!
Aly is the NEW face of hope. I know you wish to have privacy, but share with us as she progresses. (video or AoA post). Your story about her is one of the BEST.
Thanks for sharing with your beautiful child.



Thank you for sharing this and providing hope to others. Our son's severe ASD never stopped us. There was a time when we too where only hoping to hear "I love you".

Today he's heading into his senior year in high school, after being on the honor roll this past year, and will be taking Algebra 2 and looking forward attending film camp for the next two weeks.

It was folks like you, Jo Pike, and many others from NAA that kept us going as parents. So it's nice to not only be able to share, but see the glory of remediation and wellness taking shape.

Aly is an angel and you both are an inspiration!

With much appreciation,

Benedetta Stilwell

She is such a cutie! Her laugh would melt the heart of stone! Keep doing what your doing it is working!

Craig Willoughby

I watch this video and get this big, wide grin on my face. She is so beautiful, and so proud to be talking. Look how happy she is!

What an inspiration! My son's words are few and far between, but we cherish each one, celebrate each one. He's almost 8, and mostly non-verbal. Today, he started asking for things that he's never asked for before, things that he's never said before. Sadly, they were things he couldn't have (Milk and Cookies....he was heartbroken that he asked for them and we wouldn't give them to him.....I was so tempted to give in. I know...I'm a big softy). He was kicking over boxes and making a horrible racked, and when my wife asked why he was doing it, he yelled out "I Liiike it!!"

I think he was as surprised as we were!

Lynne Sanchez

Dear Wendy,

Your beautiful video and your story provide such inspiration to all of us with our nonverbal kids.

Our kids are so loved and so precious. They are worth all the hard work and when a milestone is reach, we are on top of the whole world, prouder than if they had won a gold metal.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Aly's recovery and the best is still coming.

Thank you for all that you do. I think that the NAA are absolutely great in helping our families and children.

Lynne Sanchez

Ed Arranga

Wendy, Wendy, Wendy -

What fantastic news! Keep fighting - keep hoping - keep it coming.


Theresa Cedillo

Amazing, beautiful, wonderful Wendy and Aly! Congratulations and God Bless!

Hopeism is real

Hopeism :-) Lovely, Ali's voice. Lovely!

brenda klein

Wow!!! This is really an inspiration to me and the other moms that sometimes feel like our biomed interventions just aren't working. We are human and I think all of us are always looking for a quick fix. In this case we have to realize that there is no quick fix. It takes time to repair what has been damaged in our babies....Let's hope for better days ahead. Congratulations to you and your family........


Wendy, how beautiful. I cant stop the tears. I remember Lenny's first words to me, they are burned into my mind. "SHE IS WALKING" he had that same excitement in his voice, a mix of excitement and surprise.
Thank you so much. Charlie and I are praying for you all. Harriet

Pamela Felice

Tears of joy stream down my face as I wright this. I am so happy for Aly and your whole family! Words can't express.

My 1st grader is recovered and my joy is boundless but I also often feel guilty. I compare it to survivors guilt. I want this recovery for every child with autism so badly that it's actually painful and I can't understand why we got it and others don't.

My God Son lost his aspergers diagnosis this past year...at nine. I believe it's never too late. Hopeism!

Anne Dachel

I'd love to proclaim this far and wide. These are the stories that need to be told. Where is ABC News? Where is the New York Times? How many more years will parents have to hear their messages of no cure--no hope?




Donna Alvado

This is my 2nd time watching your video today, and once again it has brought me to tears. Thanks for renewing my hope today. My 4.5 yr old is still non-verbal, but we're fighting every day to recover him. Thanks so much for sharing!

Melissa D

What a darling little girl! Congratulations on her words!! There is no sound in the world more beautiful to the ears than the voice of a child who has been silent so long...thank you for a happy story to brighten the day!

Cathy Jameson

Happy tears for you guys! Thanks for being a light for all of us, Wendy. Your whole family must be thrilled.

Vicky Debold


Congratulations!!!! This is wonderful, wonderful news. I'm thrilled for you all and especially for Aly.


Sam's Mom

Adriana G.

Wendy-- I can't think of a family that deserves this breakthrough more, though it's a crime that your daughter was ever injured to begin with. If my own children are recovering, it's because you and others put themselves on the line for the sake of all our children. I never forget it and with any gains my children make, I think of what was sacrificed so that we even had the tools and infromation to get to this point. Thank you.

Deborah (www,debstake.wordpress.com

This is fantastic! Truly it is but, let's not get caught in the mindset that if a child can't talk they have nothing to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. JR is non-verbal and has been since 20 months of age (he'll 12 in a few short weeks). And all though his spoken language (that is understood) is "I want" and "I Love You" (and this with prompting). Otherwise he is essentially none verbal. However, that being said he communicates very well with his dynavox. He has plenty to say and is learning to keyboard as well. Speaking isn't as important as the ability to convey wants, needs, ideas and thoughts.


I have seen this video posted on Facebook -- but I'm watching it again because it is just so...happy! :-)
Keep going -- I love seeing this and look forward to more.


"If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there...."

Couple days ago on a fairly remote stretch of road - my usual radio station fading away - I tuned to another (local) country station - about the only one I could get on the truck radio at that time. No, I'm not a raving country music fan, but do tune in occasionally (there are some good tunes). I happened to catch this one (Rodney Atkins) when I hit the dial. These lyrics just seem like an appropriate tribute to the autism moms (and dads) out there who never give up, and the angels that guide them...


Well you know those times when you feel like
There's a sign there on your back
That says I don't mind if you kick me, seems like everybody has
Things go from bad to worse
You think it can't get worse than that
And then they do

You step off the straight and narrow
And you don't know where you are
Used the needle of your compass, to sew up your broken heart
Ask directions from a genie in a bottle of jim beam
And she lies to you
That's when you learn the truth


If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

I've been deep down in that darkness
I've been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different deamons breathin' fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled I'd fall right into the trap
That they were layin'

But the good news is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holdin' out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been draggin' for so long
You're on your knees might as well be prayin'
Guess what I'm sayin'


If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
When you're goin' through hell keep on movin'
Face that fire walk right through it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

If you're goin' through hell keep on going
Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
When you're goin' through hell keep on movin'
Face that fire walk right through it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there




What a beautiful video, Wendy. How wonderful to be able to hear your daughter's voice and to get your long awaited "mommy" again. I hope the breakthroughs keep coming for Aly. Please continue to share your story and keep bringing hope to all the parents who fight so hard every day.

Aly's Mom

I'm so happy to be able to share some good news on Aly! Thank you for celebrating with me! What a wonderful breakthrough she's had. It's like a door blew wide open for her. I can't attribute this to any one intervention, we're doing lots of things. But Teresa is absolutely right - Aly's overall health is much-improved. We've been very focused on strengthening her immune system, reducing oxidative stress and inflammation. She's much healthier, happier and able to learn! :-)

Jennifer McNulty

Congratulations, Wendy. Hugely awesome!

Barbie Hines

This took my breath away...I cannot tell you how thrilled i am for you...thank you for sharing...with a 7.5 nonverbal kiddo, I really needed to see this...and, I must ask...anything new that you have tried lately?


Beautiful!!!!! This video made my day!!!

Jennifer Morgan-Byrd

There is nothing more beautiful than watching Aly be connected with her mommy and communicating using words. Wendy, thank you so much for sharing. Hopeism is a wonderful thing and it is what drives me to fight for my 3 children who have been diagnosed with autism and are on the road to recovery.


If I can stop crying I'll be able to smile! God Bless your family, what a triumph for Aly!!!!!


Wendy I really am beyond happy for you and your family! There is nothing like hearing our kids express themselves and progress in learning like this, may it continue and continue!!

PS... If you didn't see my other message you should know my son CJ has a super crush on Aly now! He loved this video....

Sally Miller

Wow, this video brought back a flood of memories! Naming letters was my son's original verbal breakthrough as well :-). Within a year after that, he could say pretty much anything he wanted to. I'm sure the same is in store for Aly! So very very happy for you Wendy!!!

Michelle O'Neil

She is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing this wonderful video.

Teresa Conrick

I am so HAPPY for you, Wendy and your beautiful and smart daughter. I remember a news story that you both were in a few years back and the video showed a girl who had no smile, no voice but instead a child trapped in a body that kept repetitively bouncing back and forth on the chair, oblivious to her family.

This child is happy, feeling good, is engaged and able to LEARN. I am thinking you are healing her immune system as her dark circles seem gone and the brightness and recognition in her eyes are so "there".

If this is an example of what HBOT or IVIG or a combination of medical interventions can do, then I hope a case study (published) can be done to show medical need. Insurance issues and AAP naysayers can be educated as these costly treatments need to be paid for by Insurance companies to restore health in these sick kids and the more evidence compiled to show them,the better for all the kids.

This story is so hopeful and can be an instrument for medical necessity, insurance reform and autism.


Oh how WONDERFUL!!!! What sweet music!

Tracy McDermott

WOW! WOW! WOW! I just know this can happen for the kids ~ thank you for restoring my Hopism!!! Mommy to 7 yr. old non verbal tough nut... we'll get there!


This is just so wonderful, my jaws were aching coz I was smiling so widely when watching.

alsion macneil

I am all goosebumps and filled with the joy of this.

Way to go Aly!

That's wonderful progress Wendy! I am so happy for you and Aly.

Is there a particular intervention(s) you attribute to this recent major breakthrough?

But, you know the ND people would chalk that progress up to just getting older therefore getting better. As in, it would have happened anyways. And all those biomed interventions who have done have just been a waste of money and time and dangerous!

And, if she continues to progress and becomes indistinguishable from her typical peers they might even tell you she never had autism to begin with!

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