Lena remembers getting to know her daughter, Mia, one word at a time.
“She had maybe a dozen words, including ‘hi, bye, ya (for Yes), Mommy, Daddy,’ and ‘uh’ (for up),” says Lena about her daughter, who is now six years old.
Mia has an intellectual disability and global developmental delays, and has been coming to Holland Bloorview for three years. Her delay affects her speech, her motor skills and her cognitive abilities. When Mia first arrived at Holland Bloorview, she was a shy and quiet. When she did say her one word, it was often difficult for others to understand, causing frustration for her.
Mia has been seeing a developmental pediatrician, and is undergoing speech therapy. Her progress has been gradual and steady, but over the past six months she’s made remarkable strides.
Holland Bloorview’s speech language pathologists work one-on-one with so many kids like Mia who are determined to communicate. Tapping into a child’s strengths and abilities, every kid’s path to communicating is different.
Some kids who couldn’t say anything learn to pronounce a few words. Others advance from a few words to a large vocabulary. Others use different methods besides speech to communicate, like communication signs or assistive devices.
Lena and her husband, Steve, are watching Mia’s personality come to life through speech. She’s adding the gift of expression to her already fun-loving demeanor. “Now she’s speaking in four- to five-word sentences,” says Lena who was recently blown away when she heard Mia sing Christmas carols.
“It’s emotional for me to hear her speaking and to see how proud she is of herself when people understand her. Now she says things like ‘Me funny’ and tries to make jokes with that little personality coming out.”
“She’s beginning to speak spontaneously to not only us, but people she isn’t as familiar with as well!” says Steve. “There’s also the confidence aspect too, I think she’s more confident and willing to try to tackle larger and bigger sentences.”
“It’s the fulfilment of potential that we always thought was there, and with Holland Bloorview we’ve been able to unlock that a little bit. It’s been fantastic,” he adds.