We received so many more submissions than expected, which means we can do a Leo in Bloom posting pretty much every day! I hope that you can feel the power of all of these accounts, and how the blooming into communication has opened up so many unique worlds.
I am so happy to share this piece by Madison, another of my fellow Spellers at Transcending Apraxia and the Ohana Consortium. We actually were on a panel together yesterday to welcome participants in the current Empowered 2 immersion week! Her story of how her family and friends changed their way of seeing her resonates so strongly with my experience, too.
My inability to speak was my prison that S2C unlocked
by Madison Hollman
I remember the first time I went to S2C. The lesson was about Benjamin Franklin, but mostly I remember that everyone was super nice. They made me feel confident that I would be fluent soon, and that made me happy.
My first open thought was during a lesson on Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I was asked the question “Can you relate to RBG about shattering stereotypes?” YES, MOST POORLY TALKING INDIVIDUALS ARE NOT SEEN AS THINKING PEOPLE.
That was so hard for me to spell, because I knew once I spelled my mom would cry. I didn’t want my family to feel bad, because they had misunderstood me for so long and treated me like a child. But I took a chance, and I went for it! My mom could not believe what happened, and it took a bit of time before she told my dad. When we got home Dawnmarie had sent us the video, and my mom showed it to my dad. That was the happiest I ever saw my parents. They told me my life would never be the same now, and they were right. I was so happy that I had a difficult time sleeping that night.
Later, when I became fluent everything changed. Everyone wanted to ask me so many questions. Then I became the center of attention. Some people wanted me to tell them about what I want in life. Sometimes I like telling people what it’s like to be in a prison of silence. Sometimes I especially like to let people realize that having a voice is the greatest gift God gave us so we can make our own choices.
My dad always knew I was intelligent, but didn’t know what to do to unlock my voice. When I finally became fluent he remembered how we read books, but when he realized I was understanding everything he began reading Harry Potter. That made me so excited, because I had heard my sisters talk about Harry Potter all the time.
My sisters are now more inclusive with me. We play games together when they are seeing us at my parents house. My oldest sister took me to a K-pop concert last month. So regarding my family, everyone includes me in conversations, and I really enjoy my life now.
Madison is 25 years old, and she began learning S2C 2 ½ years ago. She lives in San Clemente, California with her family. Madison is the middle child of 3 girls. She loves to play games with her two sisters. She also enjoys listening to music, swimming and taking long walks on the beach. Her dreams include getting a college education and writing a novel some day.