90° (farenheit) is hot! I had spent hours running around with the kids at Morgan’s Inspiration Island, a special needs themed waterpark. Hot and exhausted, I sat down to drink some water. That’s when Landon (not his real name) walked up to me. I remembered him from two years back, before everything was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Landon was non-verbal, and I recall both of us feeling frustration at our inability to communicate with each other. Two years prior, I learned his name because he spelled it using sign language for me. He was a nice guy, and I always wished I could do more to communicate with him. My sign language is basic, at most.
On this hot, post-pandemic summer day, Landon approached me and waved as I took a big gulp of water.
“Hi! How’s it going?” I asked as I sipped,
“I can talk much better now,” he responded.
I nearly spit out my drink!
“You’re TALKING! I exclaimed!”
“Yes! I’ve spent the last years having surgeries and therapies. Now I can talk!” Landon said, beaming with pride.
I was thrown. Last time I checked, Landon was a non-verbal adult! I invited him to sit and tell me more. I listened, bewildered as I heard his story. He spoke clearly and eloquently, finally free to tell me all about himself.
Landon had been in a car accident when he was only 5 years old. He was thrown out of the car and suffered many injuries. One of them claimed his voice. After that, Landon grew up with very limited speaking abilities, and made do with whatever others could understand.
By his late 20’s, a group of friends learned that his issue was repairable, and they gathered the thousands of dollars needed to help him pay for multiple surgeries. After only two years, Landon transformed from non-verbal, to an eloquently speaking adult!
I sat in wonderment as I listened to him finally tell me his story. I couldn’t believe my ears! I had just witnessed a miracle! After an hour of talking, we said our goodbyes and promised to talk again soon.
I know we will.