Finding Elliott's Voice

Three-year-old Elliott is as sassy as they come, according to his mom, Lauren. And has a smile that spreads easily from ear to ear – just look at that photo!

Elliott has also been diagnosed with apraxia of speech, which means he has difficulty speaking. He has often felt left out at school because he is unable to talk to his classmates, and he has a hard time telling his family anything, from how he is feeling to what he wants to eat.

“Elliot struggles from social anxiety because he is aware of his disability and being unable to talk,” says Lauren.

This can be difficult for a child with as big of a personality as Elliott, who just wants to have a voice. But Apraxia is still a relatively unknown diagnosis, according to Lauren, meaning that insurance companies aren’t as prepared to assist families when needed.

That’s why Variety St. Louis has stepped in to provide Elliot with a communication device. This device gives Elliott his voice, which has had so many benefits already.

Since finding his voice through the communication device, Elliott has become more social and has started to participate in things at school, singing along during music time and playing with his friends on the playground. Lauren says that he is so much more comfortable being around his classmates now because he is actually able to communicate with them.

At home, Elliott is now able to tell his family his feelings, especially when he is upset. His favorite things to say, though, involve requesting snacks and foot rubs! This Halloween, Elliott also used his device to say “trick or treat” for the first time, along with thanking everyone for his candy.

In the long run, this communication device will also help Elliott to talk using spoken words, something his is working on each day. He has even added a few words to his vocabulary since receiving it.

But, Lauren says, this wouldn’t have been possible without Variety and our supporters.

“We would like to say thank you to every donor that helps Variety because, without them, Variety families can suffer financially trying to afford these things,” says Lauren. “Variety’s donors were able to provide our sassy three-year-old with a voice while he learns how to talk effectively.”

If you’d like to learn more about Variety’s durable medical equipment program and how it helps local Variety Kids like Elliott, click here