hannon and her husband, Jon, adopted Brette when she was a one day old. It was not considered a high risk adoption, and while she was tiny, everything seemed normal. However, as she got older, Brett was not reaching typical milestones. She began crawling just after her first birthday and didn’t talk until age four.

Brette’s pediatrician connected them to Boyer when she was two. Gay Burton was Brett’s therapist, and they participated in Denise Swanson’s classroom – both of whom are still with Boyer today – and with their help, Shannon began to see slow and steady development in Brette’s skills. One of the most meaningful moments she experienced at Boyer was when Brette signed “more” while they were playing on the swing. “It was the first time she had ever communicated with me directly, and it meant so much.”

It’s been nearly two decades since Brette graduated from Boyer. She still doesn’t have an official diagnosis, but has made incredible achievements and continues to thrive with the support of her family and friends. Looking back on their journey, Shannon has a few pieces of advice for families who are just beginning.

“Find other parents who are walking the same road as you. Find a strong support group. Otherwise, it’s very isolating. Before coming to Boyer, we were struggling to understand the difficulties our child was having fitting in at  their typical pre-school. But having the support of the caregivers at Boyer was so helpful, especially when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with your little one. To feel understood meant so much. And the fact that Boyer has been around for 75 years…they’re obviously doing something right!”