Mom Breaks Down In McDonalds Drive-Through As 5-Year-Old Autistic Daughter Says Her First Word

May 05, 2020 by apost team

In 2018, Alabama resident Briana Blankenship posted a video on Facebook of her 5-year-old autistic daughter saying her first word ever. In the short but altogether heartfelt video, Briana asks her daughter Taylor to say "mama" while at the drive-through, and for the first time, she speaks.

This was such a momentous occasion as little Taylor falls on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal. Before this moment in that random drive-through, Briana had never heard her daughter's voice before, as she had never uttered a single word. Then, without any prompting, Taylor made herself heard from the backseat. Briana was understandably overtaken with emotion, as can be seen in the videos below.

Knowing that this was a very special occasion, Briana grabbed her cell phone and started recording. She knew that her husband, Taylor's father, would want to see and hear this wonderful moment. But first, she had to hope Taylor would repeat her utterance. And luckily, she did. Prompted by Briana, Taylor repeated her first and so far only word: "Mama."

In the video, it is clear to see that Briana can barely keep it together when she hears her daughter's voice. Every time she successfully prompts Taylor to speak again, Briana can be heard squealing with joy and excitement. Her happiness is so infectious that Taylor also starts to smile brightly, simply enjoying that she can make her mother so happy.

Briana uploaded the video to Facebook, where she tagged her family. Soon, not only her family but many others had seen the footage that was widely shared across the platform.

When she filmed the now popular clip, Briana's daughter Taylor was five years old. She has non-verbal autism, which means that she does not speak since her brain processes information differently, according to Tech Times.

This factor of Taylor's autism originally made Briana wonder if she would ever hear a word from her daughter. Fortunately, in this case, that time did come. It came in an unlikely place, as Briana and Taylor were in the car sitting in the drive-through at McDonald's.

As Briana explained in an interview with WHNT News 19, her daughter's first word came completely unprompted: "I heard her say it. I whipped around and I'm just like 'did you just say mama?!'"

Taylor had indeed said, "mama." Briana's shock was massive and, at first, left her in tears. Once she broke down crying, she couldn't stop for a bit. As she explained in her description of the original Facebook video, she must have made a curious sight to the McDonald's employees and other drivers:

"I am ugly crying in the McDonald's parking lot and the employees probably think I'm crazy. [...] 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."

Her daughter, who had never said a single word and who, according to doctors, might have never talked at all, had called her "mama." That moment is undoubtedly etched into Briana's mind forever.

With Taylor's sudden verbal burst, Briana hastened to capture the moment. She grabbed the phone through her tears and just started recording. She wanted proof of what just happened, no matter how long it took.

That first word opens up the hope that maybe, one day, Taylor will gain the ability to talk in complete sentences. She has a long journey ahead of her, but this was the step that made the future a lot brighter.

Non-verbal autism is a special subset of autism that is sadly considered underrepresented in medical research. As a result of this lack, not much is known about the causes, possible treatments, and further ramifications of non-verbal autism. Some studies estimate that between 25% to 50% of all children who are diagnosed with non-verbal autism never learn to speak properly at all. Instead, these children develop the skills to use a few words or utterances, never gaining more mastery of the spoken language.

It is important to note that their lack of verbal language does not mean these children are less intelligent than normal ones. They simply lack one tool of communication other children can make use of. 

Do you know someone with non-verbal autism? Tell us your story and pass this uplifting video on to friends and family members who might relate to Briana and Taylor's story.