By Ayleen Armendariz, PRC-Saltillo Blogger
When I was born, I was dead for 15 minutes because I swallowed too much fluid. A nurse practiced CPR and I started to breath again. They took me to the hospital in Maricopa, Arizona in a helicopter. I had three heart attacks and the left side of my brain was not responding. My kidneys and my lungs were not working. The doctors said I had a 2% chance of living and would spend my whole life in the hospital. I was hospitalized for two weeks and was able to leave the hospital with just ataxic cerebral palsy. That means my cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor movements, balance, and coordination, never recovered. The nurses called me “Miracle Girl.” I am now 21 years old.
I was ten years old when I started using my first AAC, after moving from Mexico to America. It was a Vantage device. It helped me to use my hand more effectively because I had to push buttons to communicate. Then I got an ECO device. It allowed me to select words with my head movements, making communication easier and faster. With my ECO device and the help of my nephews, I was able to learn English in five months!
Kids in my middle school and high school were interested in how I used my device, and they became my friends. I met my best friend when I was a freshman in high school and she was a sophomore.
During school I relied on an aide to go with me to all classes to help me submit homework. I wanted more classes than what was available to me, because there were not enough aides to help me.
I want to go to college but realize I was never taught math in school. I am now learning math with my speech therapist to make up for lost time. I plan to attend college but am unsure of the assistance available to me. The school I want to attend tells me I need to find my own aide.
I am still fighting for my dreams. People tell me I can’t do this and that. But my God tells me, “Yes, you can!”
Communicators In Action - dream, AAC, Vantage, Vanguard, ECO, cerebral palsy, college