How Lila Communicates

Some people assume that because Lila has Down syndrome or because she can’t speak, she must not be able to understand.


Lila loves the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin. During the movie when Aladdin is in danger, she reacts like you see in the video. She yells and even runs in place like she's trying to help him get away!


And before you say she’s responding just because of the music, what would you say if I told you she responds this same way even when there’s no sound? Yep, she does.


Lila is delayed, but she's also smart. She understands what we say to her. She's only 5, so there are some things like feelings that she’s still working on. She knows what she wants, and she's getting better and better at communicating with us. Watch this!



She's been communicating using sign language since she was very young. Lila took to that easily. She started fairly early with some words, but around age 2, she seemed to become frustrated that we didn't understand her. We began to see her frequently show that she was angry with us.


Her speech therapist first tried a tool called PECS to help her communicate with us, but Lila would not cooperate to bring us a picture of what she wanted. In April 2018, her therapist recommended that we switch to an iPad with LAMP. She adjusted to the program very quickly, and she’s now able to tell us what she wants easily. Her Speech Therapist adds buttons as they work on them in therapy. She knows what the icons are, and she can tell us when she wants to eat or drink something or play something. We have seen the most strides in communication since she started with this program.


Lila and her family want people to understand that she isn’t dumb or incapable. She has thoughts and feelings. She doesn't want to be ignored in a room full of people just because words don't come easily to her. She understands what people say, and she’s growing to communicate more and more every day!


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