For three years she had not uttered a word, communicating only through pictures.


Autism affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys, according to Autism Speaks. It's one of the fastest growing development disorders in the U.S. and continues to affect thousands of children on a daily basis. There is no cure.

Not everyone with autism will experience the same symptoms or struggles. Some individuals with autism are extremely high functioning while others may have difficulties with speech and motor coordination. Every child is unique.

This young girl had a very unique case and is continuing to defy odds every day.



Her speech eventually faded away, and shortly after, she stopped making eye contact and responding to her name.

"We tried a speech therapist but the last two years have been horrendous.

"You could tell [how] angry she was becoming with herself.” Coco's family began an online fundraising campaign to help pay for her speech therapy sessions.



The campaign has raised over 20,000 euros to date.

One speech therapy session for Coco costs 50 euros. With these sessions, the family's efforts and everyone's generous donations eventually paid off.



After three years of silence, Coco spoke her first words.

"I want more toast please," were her exact words. Her family was overjoyed.

"She just kept saying it, and we were just like, ‘Oh my god,’" said Rachel.

"She looked so pleased with herself and was jumping up and down and just kept saying, ‘I want more toast.'


"You are not supposed to show how excited you get as kids link power with that word, but we just couldn’t control it," said Rachel. "We were clapping and cheering.”



'Like most kids with autism has a very limited diet.

'You are not supposed to show how excited you get as kids link power with that word but we just couldn't control it. We were clapping and cheering.'

Coco was saying two-word sentences when she stopped talking altogether at two. Like many children with autism, she has struggled to communicate with people

Like many children with autism, Coco's language skills were delayed and she struggled to communicate.

According to the National Autistic Society, typical signs are a lack of social instinct, an interest in things rather than people, difficulties with language, and finding comfort in routine and repetitiveness.

People with autism tend to have all these symptoms, though to differing degrees.

Coco found her voice again after starting a special type of speech therapy called Applied Behavioural Analysis, or ABA in September last year.

Originally developed at the University of California, ABA uses a system of rewards to teach a child skills and train them to behave according to social norms.

Mrs Bradford - who lives in St Ives, Cornwall, with husband Luke and has four other children Bianca, 28, Chelsea, 25, Elle, 22, and Oakley, eight - said it had been hard for the family.

WHAT IS ABA?

Applied Behavioural Analysis, or ABA, was originally developed at the University of California.

It uses a system of rewards to teach a child skills and train them to behave according to social norms.

Under the supervision of a trained psychologist, ABA tutors work with people at home and school, breaking tasks down into chunks which are repeated over and over.

They also teach parents the techniques.

ABA claims it can be used to teach everything from toilet training and academic subjects to how to play and have conversations.


'Coco was talking at 26 months but did not get to more than two word sentences,' she said.

But her talking just faded away and she stopped responding to her name or making any eye contact.

'You could tell she was just so frustrated. We tried a speech therapist but the last two years have been horrendous.

'You could tell angry she was becoming with herself.'

Coco's treatment was only made possible thanks to a fundraising campaign that has so far raised over £20,000.

Mrs Bradford said she had messaged Coco's tutors to tell them of the news and said they were delighted.

'We waited so long for her to talk and for her to just do it unprompted was quite magical really.

'It is just so lovely and I can not explain how happy we all are. The day after, my husband came home from work and Coco poked her head around the corner and said hello.

'It has really opened things up and in just two days she has started using a lot more words.

'The speed of how quickly she has learnt has shocked everyone. She is now shocking us every day with something new.