Kyree Johnson Age: 7 Location: Detroit
By: Jasmine Yates
At a very young age Kyree Johnson was diagnosed as nonverbal. As brilliant as Kyree is, the back and forth communication was just nonexistent. He wasn’t able to have full conversations, instead he would just express his wants and needs in no more than three words. With Kyree having one brother, his parents, Kelvin and Cichon Johnson noticed early on that he met certain milestones and decided to help him grow rather than panic.
Even with the doctors telling them that he would never speak, the Johnsons knew that they had to continue to try and get their baby boy to speak. They tried everything from Speech and ABA therapy to having him practice conversations at home. As time went on they shifted their approach and decided to help him start his own business, with the goal of him developing communication and social skills that would expose him to communication opportunities in the community, and not just the therapist’s office.
It was important to the Johnsons that Kyree’s business was in something that he loved, and they knew that he loved candy more than anything in the world, so they helped him open a candy shop called, ‘Kyree’s Candy Stop’. Upon opening his business, something amazing happened, Kyree’s communication skills began to develop, and eventually Kyree was able to introduce himself to customers. Kyree’s communication skills have progressed so much that he was able to interview with WTP Lifestyle Magazine and tell us about his business.
Kyree’s mother was present during the interview, and she shared some valuable information for mothers who are raising a nonverbal child. She understands how hard it is to watch your child struggle to meet developmental milestones, but she wants them to know that it can get better. She exclaimed, “His day to day communication always has me in tears and smiling! He has gone from being non-verbal to being able to introduce himself to customers and invite them to shop with him is an amazing thing to see.”
She urges mothers, “Do not let anyone make you feel bad about your kid(s). Give them as much help as you can as soon as you can. Love on your babies, appreciate and celebrate every moment with them.” Kyree’s story is very uplifting and although starting a business may not be the key to getting your child to talk, this story shows us that there is always hope. Every child develops differently and you can help them overcome anything by just being supportive and reaching out to them through the use of the things that they enjoy.