A child learning their first words is one of the most gratifying moments of parenthood. It’s a key moment in development that will serves as the catalyst for all social interactions to come.
Still, some parents don’t ever get to experience this. For the longest time, Emily Wallace was one of them.
Her daughter, Bessie, was born with Landau Kleffner syndrome and the doctors told her that Bessie would never speak. 13 years later, those doctors were proven wrong in a way that nobody could have predicted.
For 13 years, Bessie was unable to speak.
When Bessie was just a baby, her family noticed that there were certain developmental milestones that she was not hitting on time. They thought that she was just developing a bit slower than other kids but, the truth was much scarier.
After a life-threatening seizure, they took Bessie to neurologist Dr. Daniel Ardnt.
“We learned that the child has an excessive amount of abnormal brainwave activity while they are sleeping,” Ardnt told WXYZ-TV Detroit.
She was diagnosed with Landau Kleffner Syndrome, a disease which robs a person of their ability to understand speech and to speak. Doctors believed that she would never learn to speak.
For 13 years, their assessment was correct. Bessie had never spoken once. Yet, in spite of that, her family found ways to communicate and bond with her.
A bond with her sister Ernestine allowed her to sing.
Bessie and her older sister, Ernestine, share a very close relationship.
“If you see me, you’re going to see her too,” Ernestine told WXYZ. “I can’t be away from her no longer than she can be away from me.”
Ernestine is a singer/songwriter who regularly practices her music around the house. Growing up listening to this, Bessie developed an appreciation for music as well.
One day in 2017, her family walked in on Bessie who appeared to be mouthing along to the radio. Upon closer inspection though, they realized that it wasn’t just the radio making music; Bessie was singing as well!
This would be considered a miracle under any circumstances, but what makes this especially charming is that the song she was singing to was one that Ernestine wrote.
From that moment on, Bessie would keep singing and even start learning how to speak. She was suddenly making tons of progress in ways that nobody thought possible, and it was all because of her bond with her sister.
“Bessie has a very caring family. She’s blessed with that,” Dr. Ardnt said. “The day in and day out efforts the family does: it’s been priceless for Bessie!”