Magdalene

One month shy of her 3rd birthday, Magdalene was diagnosed with a severe speech and language delay. When asked what my main motivation was for having her assessed, my answer was simple; her safety. Magdalene couldn't even say her own name or tell you who her parents are if she were lost. We were her support, her interpreters and her words, as she literally could not speak for herself. At the same time, Magdalene started swim lessons with Hailee at the Y. Hailee knelt down and spoke directly to her at the first lesson. Magdalene said nothing. I interrupted the pause, as I always do, to tell her our challenge. Hailee gave me suggestions as to how I could help and I watched as my daughter began to trust her. By the end of that session, Magdalene wanted to swim. I was thrilled to hear that Hailee would be teaching the summer classes and signed Magdalene up, knowing the continuity would be a blessing for her learning. Hailee was one of the first "strangers" I entrusted my daughter to. As Magdalene walked up the pool deck at the end of class, I began to cry. I thanked Hailee for all she had done for Magdalene. It could have been anyone we met that first day and she could have treated our child just like anyone else, but she wasn't and she didn't. As a parent of a child with a speech disability, I want the YMCA to know how grateful I am that Hailee gave my child a voice during such an important time in her life. - Anne