When a child says their first word, it’s an event to remember. But when a girl with nonverbal autism does it, it’s a reason to ugly cry in a parking lot. And that’s exactly what happened to Briana Blankenship from Athens, Alabama. Doctors said her daughter, Taylor, might never speak. But just days ago, the 5-year-old defied the odds and proved them wrong.
“I had basically accepted that I would never hear her voice,” Briana told Bored Panda. At the moment, medics are still testing Taylor, but they have already diagnosed her with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Processing Disorder. The first one is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns.
“We communicate with limited sign language and gestures,” Briana said. “We also have an iPad that is locked so that the only program she can access is a communication program called LAMP. LAMP is what she uses to complete work in school and because of this, she is excellent at spelling especially for a 5-year-old.” Taylor is also in the “inclusion” Kindergarten class (and is going to 1st grade with the same class), receives occupational therapy to help with her fine motor skills, and sensory therapy. “Her dad and I also pay for her to go to gymnastics every week and that helps with following instructions and it also has helped her stop her tiptoe walking that a lot of kids with Autism do.”
However, when Briana was taking her daughter to a gymnastics class, the impossible happened. “We were on our way there – running late – so I had to go through the closest drive-thru to grab her something that she would actually eat. We rarely eat fast food so she recognized that she was about to get her favorite food, French fries, and started getting excited and giggling in the back seat. That’s when I heard her say it. I whipped my head around and asked “Did you just say Momma?” and she looked at me and said it again.”
“I was so excited that I put the car in park right there in the line, dug my phone out of my purse, and started the video that has now been seen around the world. Once I stopped recording it hit me what just happened and I broke down into tears. I could tell by the look on the cashiers face that she wanted to know what was wrong but I couldn’t speak thru the tears.”
“I went and parked my car after getting our food and immediately called my husband and then my mother. I didn’t have time to call anyone else before class started so I quickly posted the video to my Facebook page and tagged our family in it.” Instantly, people flooded Briana’s inbox. “We have had so many messages from people that we are giving them hope for their loved ones, or that we are making them feel less alone in the daily battles of parenting a nonverbal child. It has also opened up the conversation for many people. I’ve had dozens of messages from people saying things like “Please don’t judge me but I have no idea what Autism is and that it could cause someone to have the inability to speak. Where can I learn more.”
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More info: Facebook