Mom Overjoyed, Grabs Camera When 5-Year-Old with Autism Finally Says First Word


Briana Blankenship and her 5-year-old daughter were running late. And as many parents know, being pressed for time often means finding the closest fast-food joint and scarfing down a quick meal in the car.

While Blankenship was preoccupied with the urgent thought of being late, her autistic, nonverbal daughter, Taylor, was preoccupied with the thought of eating french fries. Taylor, who had never spoken even one word in her young life, sat in the back of the car, giddy with anticipation.

And that’s when it happened: the moment that reduced a mother to tears in line at a fast-food drive-thru. For the first time, Taylor spoke.

“Mama,” the little girl softly said. Blankenship whipped around in shock, wondering if what she’d heard actually happened.

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“Did you just say, Momma?” Blankenship asked her little girl. Giggling with glee, Taylor repeated herself, again and again.

It was a moment Taylor’s family figured they’d never experience. Now, it’s a moment that is inspiring parents and families across the globe.

“I am ugly crying in the McDonald’s parking lot and the employees probably think I’m crazy,” an emotional Blankenship captioned the video she took to commemorate the milestone. “In the drive thru I suddenly heard Taylor say MAMA.”

As the significance of what had just happened sunk into Blankenship’s heart, she burst into tears. She called her husband and her mom with the amazing news and posted the video on Facebook so her close friends and family could celebrate, too.

Blankenship later told Bored Panda she had already come to terms with knowing Taylor was unlikely to speak.

“I had basically accepted that I would never hear her voice,” Blankenship explained.

Blankenship never imagined her video would go viral, but she is glad to have shed some light on autism. Parenting a child with autism can feel lonely and isolating, many parents told Blankenship, and hearing about Taylor’s progress has been encouraging.

“We have had so many messages from people that we are giving them hope for their loved ones, or that we are making them feel less alone in the daily battles of parenting a nonverbal child,” Blankenship explained. “It has also opened up the conversation for many people.”

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Blankenship is hopeful that Taylor’s story will encourage people to educate themselves on autism. “With understanding comes acceptance, and that’s all we can ask for,” the proud mother smiled.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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