A few weeks ago I received a lovely card from the first family that I had worked with, doing ABA. They had two boys with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and I had worked with them both. Since then we have exchanged several e-mails, and it has been wonderful to hear about their continued progress. I remember when I first started working with the youngest child, he had no formal communication method in place at that point. There was lots of discussion about whether to teach him to use signs or PECS. In the end, the decision was made to teach him signs.
The mom was hesitant at the time, but now tells me how happy she is that we chose this path. After learning several signs, and beginning to spontaneously request things, we introduced vocal approximations. His first word was water-he was ALWAYS thirsty. His mom tells me he is having continued success now in working on novel requests.
This is the most rewarding thing a therapist can hear.