By Lori Holbrook
Hannah is 13 years old and is in 8th grade. I can’t believe we will soon be doing our transition to high school meeting. Hannah is our inspiration. I always say she is the best teacher for us in this journey called life. She teaches us daily to do our best, keep smiling, and take time to look at all of the blessings around us.
Hannah is a cheerleader/flyer on a special needs cheerleading team. This is her favorite extracurricular activity to do. Her brother, David, is also a volunteer buddy for the team. She loves her friends and always wants to wear her uniform. She also keeps us busy with special needs gymnastics, roller skating, horseback riding over the summer, riding her adaptive bike, swimming, and so much more. We do our best to not say “she can’t” because Hannah has shown us all what “she can” do!!!
Hannah has Down syndrome, autism, apraxia, and Hashimoto’s disease. Hannah is non-verbal but does use the iPad, using Proloquo2Go, to communicate. She taught me she needed a way to carry her voice, effectively and independently, which is why I created the CHAT Bag (www.chatbag.net). I am truly blessed to see it help so many others too.
Hannah is continuing to work hard using her voice in many environments. She orders her own food, requests items, and is starting to use it for more everyday conversations. We are trying to encourage her to ask others questions such as “who is your teacher, how are you, etc.?” The iPad has been a blessing that allows us to learn more about Hannah, see her fun personality, and interact everyday in situations that she wouldn’t be able to do without having a voice. It is amazing to watch and be apart of.
We are blessed!!