5-Year-Old With Nonverbal Autism Surprises Mom By Saying 'Mama'

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via Facebook/Briana Blankenship

Her mom stopped in the middle of the McDonald’s drive-thru to capture it on video

A mom was told her daughter, who is nonverbal and has Autism, might never speak. That’s why when the little girl said “mama” she had to stop everything and capture it on video. Now, it’s gone viral and is pretty much one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see.

Briana Blankenship was going through an ordinary day in the life of a busy mom when suddenly, her world (happily) screeched to a halt. Her daughter said her first word, and it was cause for much celebration. The caption reads, “I am ugly crying in the McDonald’s parking lot and the employees probably think I’m crazy. In the drive thru I suddenly heard Taylor say MAMA.” Blankenship explains that five-year-old Taylor had never said a word before that moment.

“As soon as she said it I grabbed my phone and started recording. I’m pretty sure I held up the drive thru line but there was no way I wasn’t getting proof of this. I can’t explain how unbelievably grateful and ecstatic I am right now,” she writes.

“Our family and her teachers and doctors have been working for the last 2 and a half years to get Taylor to where we are now,” Blankenship tells Scary Mommy.

Image via Briana Blankenship

“We were told that it’s possible that Taylor may never speak,” she says. “Last year we were able to get her a communication device- which is an iPad that is locked in a program called LAMP — and she started the process of communication. We are still working hard to get her to express her wants and needs clearly thru the device.”

Blankenship tells us she had more or less accepted that she’d never hear Taylor’s voice. That night, the mom was grabbing her daughter dinner before gymnastics class, which Taylor participates in as part of some “thinking outside the box” therapy that the family had decided to do on their own.

“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,” she tells us. “We rarely eat fast food so she recognized that she was about to get her coveted French fries and started getting excited and giggling in the back seat. That’s when I heard her say it.”

Image via Briana Blankenship

Blankenship wasn’t about to let the moment pass without capturing it on video, no matter where she was. “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.”

Image via Briana Blankenship

“Once I stopped recording it hit me what just happened and I broke down into tears,” she says. “I could tell by the look on the cashiers face that she wanted to know what was wrong but I couldn’t speak through the tears.” After that, Blankenship pulled over and called her husband and mom. She says she didn’t have time to call anyone else as she had to get Taylor to gymnastics, so she posted the video on Facebook, tagging other family members.

Of the reaction to the incredible video, Blankenship says, “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.”

But for all the excitement over Taylor’s first word, there’s another huge benefit to her story spreading.

“We are most excited about bringing Autism into the light on a good and realistic viewpoint. Hopefully with all the attention the video is getting we can encourage more people to educate themselves on autism. With understanding comes acceptance and that’s all we can ask for.”

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