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'Nonverbal' 8-Year-Old with Down Syndrome Befriends Homeless Man Through Singing

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I struggle to think of what life would be like without words. I mean, I make a living with words.

And more than that, I truly enjoy the beauty of language. There’s something magical in the way that nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs interact.

I know that many people with various genetic, neurological and behavioral conditions struggle with language. But as one young girl from Columbia, South Carolina, has shown, you don’t need words to communicate.

WECT reported that Kimberly B. Phillips had done something sweet with her daughter Neveah in late January. She’d taken the 8-year-old girl to a local church in order to help feed the poor.

That’s a wonderful thing for anyone to do, but it was especially neat in Neveah’s case.

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See, Neveah has Down syndrome. She’s also essentially nonverbal, according to her mother.

But even though she doesn’t talk, Neveah befriended a homeless man who was seeking assistance at the church. And when the time came, she knew exactly how to express her affection.

Phillips captured video as the man began to sing gospel troubadour Smokie Norful’s “I Understand.” While cradling Neveah in his arms, he began to croon the song’s soulful lyrics.

“Sometimes I feel like giving up,” he sang. “It seems like my best just ain’t good enough.

“Lord, if You hear me, I’m calling You. Do You see, do You care all about what I’m going through?”

Amazingly, Neveah chimed in a few times, singing along with the unshaven man. Her mother wasn’t at all surprised.

“Her actions speak louder than words,” Phillips said. “Love made her do it.”

Phillips posted the video on social media — and the internet went wild. Over a million people viewed it, which made the proud mother want to track down her daughter’s homeless friend and tell him.

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So that’s exactly what she did, and she described their next interaction in a Facebook post. She wrote, “He was in shock, and he read the comments with a big smile on his face!

“You all have given him so much hope today! He leaned down to Nevaeh and said…look what we did.’”

Phillips hopes that her daughter’s example will change thinking about both homelessness and Down syndrome.

“I just wanted to show the world what children with Down syndrome are like,” Phillips said.

“You will be blessed beyond measure because they know and they want to bring you joy. They are leading by example — and that’s how we should all be loving others.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
Education
Wheaton College
Location
Florida
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith, Travel




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