A Special Voice – The Power of a Single Word

Many of you are aware that my daughter is autistic.  Her vocabulary is extremely limited; she has developmental delays.  Like any person she has her good days and not so good days. 

The challenge she faces every day is that of being (mis) understood. 

Can you imagine what it must be like to try and express yourself only to have people stare at you, get frustrated with you and even walk away from you? This is what my daughter often experiences every day.

The world must be such a confusing place for her.

Our Special Daughter, November 2013

Our Special Daughter, November 2013

That said, there are also people who have been able to get to know her by providing her various types of services.

Our Mija allows them into a world that most people never see. 

One of these people is my friend and hairdresser, Katja.

My daughter and Katja have developed a special relationship. Katja regularly gives her haircuts, pedicures and manicures!

Our daughter sits reasonably still for Katja while having her hair cut, November 2008.

Our daughter sits reasonably still for Katja while having her hair cut, November 2008.

Her manicures and pedicures originally started with Janie.  She and Katja shared the same salon space.  When Janie moved out of town, Katja continued where Janie left off, making sure that our daughter received proper grooming, along with some pampering!

Our daughter inspects Janie's work while having a pedicure, November 2008.

Our daughter inspects Janie’s work while having a pedicure, November 2008.

Taking her to the salon has provided her with the opportunity to be social, not an easy task for those with autism.  Over time she’s gained patience as her fingers soak in a little bowl of water.  She inspects each fingernail as soon as it’s clipped, then returns her hand to the suds.

Her pedicures are a bit more challenging, but she is gaining patience with these as well.

Mija relaxes while her fingers, and then her feet soak in sudsy water.

Mija relaxes while her fingers, and then her feet soak in sudsy water.

She’s known Katja for over twelve years now.

All these years Katja has been patient with her, telling her that she’s doing well, that she’s almost done, oh, and would she like some lotion?

Well, recently Al took her to her appointment.

That’s when it happened.

Al reassures Mija while she waits for her nails to be done.

Al reassures Mija while she waits for her nails to be done.

Katja expressed it in a recent on-line post. I’ve edited it slightly, but here are her words.

PRAISE GOD!!!!!! Miracles DO happen!!!!

Yesterday was as one of the best days I ever had, and I feel the need to share it with all of you.

Unfortunately, I was too emotional to write about the miracle I witnessed yesterday, as I could not stop crying (tears of joy).

You see, about 12 years ago, I met a special little girl. We have developed a unique and special relationship that started from hair cutting, to manicures and pedicures throughout the years.

Mija and Katja enjoy their time together.

Mija and Katja enjoy their time together.

And although my special little girl is now 18 years old, she has never spoken a word to me, thus letting me know through her own way of communication, that she enjoys our beauty visits as much as I do.

As I finished her pedicure yesterday, and thanked her for her cooperation for letting me do my job without her dad’s help, I praised her.

I thanked her again, and then heard …

“THANK-YOU!”

She talked to me for the first time!!!!

Al and I almost fell out of our chairs; and we were overcome with emotions.

I had to ask if he had heard what I heard, and it was not just my imagination that I wanted to hear her talk to me.

I wondered for 12 years if our special relationship means as much to her as it means to me…and as I heard her speaking to me for the first time, I now know what I always hoped.

She does enjoy our relationship!!!!

Katja reassures Mija that her pedicure won't hurt.  It will be fun!

Katja reassures Mija that her pedicure won’t hurt. It will be fun!

Thank you Jesus!  What a miracle!

I feel so honored to be trusted with her, and blessed to have her in my life.

Thank you God, and thank you Al and Cathy for being in my life and sharing your Mija.You mean the world to me………xoxoxo

A single word was uttered. Even though she doesn’t understand this, its utterance meant that for this one moment our daughter took the initiative to break out of her world to reach out to someone that she knows.

Will this ever happen again? We don’t know.

But there is one thing we have always known, and this moment proved it.

Our daughter enjoys herself while she gets pampered!

Our daughter enjoys herself while she gets pampered!

Our daughter truly has a voice.

p. s. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Alex, our daughter’s speech therapist.   He is another person our daughter has allowed into her world.   We love to share stories of our daughter’s vocal experiences with him.  This is really a topic for a separate post, so stay tuned for more!

Many thanks to Alex, our daughter's speech therapist!  More about this in a future post!

Many thanks to Alex, our daughter’s speech therapist! More about this in a future post!

**********

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Dearest Daughter

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About

I've always enjoyed writing and finally decided it was time to blog! As part of my profession I write every day, but I'm now trying to take the time to write creatively. My family and friends have been very encouraging as there is little that is written down in the way of a family chronicle. This is a favorite topic of mine! In addition to family history, I write about life, family, friends and faith. My husband is a full-time parent to our special needs daughter. I’ve explored this topic, too. I also enjoy music, crocheting, reading and relaxing with my family. I hope you enjoy what I have to offer!

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Posted in 2014, Autism, B4Peace, Special Needs, Uncategorized
14 comments on “A Special Voice – The Power of a Single Word
  1. sheila Zucman says:

    God bless you and your beautiful daughter now and always.

  2. dorannrule says:

    This is such a beautiful story and it literally brought me to tears.

  3. electronicbaglady says:

    Beautiful, and leaves me without my own words

  4. Terry Perez says:

    Loved this story of Mija! What a blessing!!!

  5. Patty B says:

    What a blessing and beautiful story – I started to cry – thank you for sharing that with us. You have special compassionate friends to take care of your lovely daughter. {hugs!}

    • Cathy G says:

      Hi Patty. I have been so touched by these comments. We are very fortunate that people have come into our lives who have opened their hearts to our family. It reminds me that I need to be sharing these types of stories…my daughter is an amazing teacher. It’s humbling to see what she can bring to people who are willing to open their hearts to her. Thanks for much for you comment and for stopping by!

  6. Patty B says:

    And thank you for highlighting my article, it means a lot to me. You are always inspiring me – I thank God for you. ;)

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