"Not being able to speak, is not the same thing as not having anything to say."

Joey is a happy, healthy 9 year old.  He loves the computer, books, music, horseback riding, swimming and his swing. He loves to go on outings and could happily browse the bookstore for hours.

Joey has a wonderful sense of humor and fills our lives with love and laughter. He is a joy, a challenge and his parent's hero.

Joey is non-verbal and uses a Dynavox, picture communication, sign language and low tech voice output devices to communicate.  He is a creative communicator with endless patience. "No, Joey, I just don't understand" is met with finding another way to make you understand.  He has even resorted to finding a picture in a magazine or catalogue to make his thoughts known. He can say, "Mama", "up" and "bye-bye" and takes great pride in this.

Joey was diagnosed at five months old by his pediatrician. We pursued a diagnosis when we noticed that at five months, he couldn't lift his head when placed on his stomach.  Joey rolled over at 11 months, crawled at 30 months and walked at 3 1/2 years. He received early intervention services through Easter Seals starting at 6 months old and was the 1991 poster child. He attended a pre-k program following Easter Seals and then started kindergarten in our public school system.

Joey is now in the third grade. One of his accomplishments was last year in the 2nd grade when he made Principal's honor roll and also won a finalist ribbon for his science fair project, "Which Orange Makes the Most Juice?"  He typed the material on the computer, picked which orange he thought would make the most juice, helped cut the orange and squeeze them.  He also showed me which orange did make the most juice. I didn't even know his teacher entered his project and he won a finalist ribbon!  He used his Dynavox to do his presentation. We are very proud..


There is a line in a song that sums it up perfectly.  "If there were no words, no way to speak, I would still hear you." We hear him loud and clear.

Contact Elizabeth Petruzzi at