Finding Her Voice: At 6 years old 1st grader, Angeou, speaks for the first time

 In Children's Academy, community, General, Quality Schools Program, Stories of Change

Recently at The Children’s Academy, 1st grader, Angeou, did something extraordinary: As a 6-year-old, she spoke her first words since birth.

Enrolling in preschool at The Children’s Academy at the tender age of three, Angeou (seen right in kindergarten) presented a unique challenge – she couldn’t speak, yet her understanding illuminated a world of potential.

Despite facing the initial hurdle of non-verbal communication, The Children’s Academy, which is not a specialized institution, embraced Angeou and her family. After a year of dedicated efforts it became evident that Angeou required additional special-needs support, something The Children’s Academy could offer her, but was unavailable to her previously due to her family’s financial constraints. Angeou had already been rejected from several other schools because of her inability to speak.

Undeterred by these challenges, The Children’s Academy held to its core belief – that no child should stay behind due to financial or developmental obstacles. Angeou and other special needs students found a nurturing home within the school’s walls.

Three years later, a miraculous moment unfolded. In the quiet morning, Angeou, now a first-grader, suddenly uttered complete phrases that resonated through the school corridors. Everyone was astonished as she spoke her first words to the Pedagogy Director, “Where are your reading glasses?” Upon hearing her, joy reverberated throughout the school about Angeou’s new-found ability to speak. 

It has been two weeks now since Angeou first spoke. And while she’s certainly got some work to do – she sometimes uses the third person when speaking – she is super sweet and excitedly names everything around her, like flowers. In her words, 

“Lavi m tèlman bèl tankou bèl flè ki nan lekòl mwen an depi lè m koumanse pale.“

Translation: “My life has been so beautiful, like the beautiful flowers at my school, since I started talking.” 

Her mother, Marie Ange (seen above with Angeou), who works at the school as a teacher aide, found herself in a speechless embrace of gratitude. She acknowledged The Children’s Academy as more than just a school. Rather, it’s  “… a space infused with love that healed my daughter in ways beyond measure.

Angeou’s transformation is a testament to the dedication of her teachers whose patience and commitment played a pivotal role in her developmental journey. Through their actions, The Children’s Academy fosters an environment where love, patience, acceptance, and support converge to illuminate a path through the challenges of finding one’s voice.

As Angeou’s story continues to unfold, the message is clear, and it’s one The Children’s Academy remains committed to.  Every child, whether with a voice or voiceless, deserves the chance to flourish.

Left: Angeou with her classroom teacher, Natacha. Right: Angeou with Pedagogy Director, Widlyne, the teacher she spoke her first words to.

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