Imaani's Story

"Imaani loves to do things himself."

Imaani might be the only four-year-old with his own army. 

Our family calls my son’s team of speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other staff at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital “Imaani’s Army.”

Imaani has cerebral palsy after blood stopped flowing to his brain briefly before he was born. Despite this, it’s clear that Imaani wants to express himself – he has a lot he wants to say.

Holland Bloorview is making that happen by teaching Imaani how he can communicate.

He first learned to share his needs and wants through sign language and using a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). This is a tool that lets him express himself through a collection of basic images.

But staff soon noticed this wasn’t enough.

Staff from Holland Bloorview’s Communication and Writing Aids Department even came to our home and let Imaani experiment with a variety of communication tools such as special books and computer programs. He now has his own assistive communication device that he uses to help him speak.

With help from a speech therapist, Imaani is also beginning to pronounce words on his own. It never gets old to hear Imaani clearly say “I love you” and he giggles with pride when he asks to read his favourite book “Green Eggs and Ham.”

With all of these different skills combined, Imaani has found his voice.

As a mom, it’s amazing to see my son put sentences together to express his emotions and feelings. He gets so excited telling me stories about his day.

We are discovering Imaani’s sense of humour – he loves to tell jokes – and his drive to figure things out for himself.

Gradually and steadily, he’s getting more confident. Imaani is more involved with his peers and having more fun. He’s even starting to pick up expressions like “What’s up?” and “That’s cool!”

Imaani has so many goals and dreams for his future. And with his Holland Bloorview army by his side, I know there’s no barrier he can’t crush.  I can’t wait to hear what he has to say next!.

– Kate, Imaani’s mom