Carol and Adam Thurtell's youngest son is non-verbal but thanks to alternative communication tools he's starting to get his message across.
The Kanahooka couple say KidzWish speech pathologist Susannah Easton has helped three-year-old Roark find his voice through techniques such as key word signing.
During International AAC awareness Month, they're are hoping their story will encourage other parents to access early intervention programs.
"Roark was diagnosed with autism and a severe learning disability last December," Mr Thurtell said.
"He was unable to communicate simple words, and could barely string two words together. After his diagnosis we were able to access programs like KidzWish speech therapy and it's changed our lives. It's helping him better understand the world around him - and it's helping us better understand his world."
Mrs Easton said KidzWish speech offered AAC support for more than 70 kids. "Techniques include key word signing, picture books, as well as new technologies like iPads and other communication devices."
"Our aim is to help children who find verbal communication difficult, to understand and engage in their own environment. it's great to see kids find their voice when speech is hard."