‘Happy and confident’ Northamptonshire two-year-old diagnosed with condition that means he is unable to speak

Albie can often be left frustrated when he cannot communicate what he wants to say, so his family is now fundraising to buy a speech board for schools in their area

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 10:07 am
Albie Willett was diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia earlier this year.
Albie Willett was diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia earlier this year.

A Northamptonshire family whose two-year-old son has a neurological condition which means he is unable to speak has launched a fundraising campaign in a bid to buy equipment for his school and future school that would give him another way of communicating.

Albie Willett from Woodford Halse was diagnosed with verbal dyspraxia in January this year after his parents and pre-school teachers began to worry about his lack of speech.

The condition means the brain is unable to send the correct signals to the mouth and tongue to make sounds or words.

Albie with his older sister Ellie.

According to his mum - Louisa Galloway - the two-year-old has never babbled or talked and can only utter limited sounds.

Louisa said: “Albie has always been very quiet and we always just put it down to him being a quiet boy.

“We assumed he was a thinker not a talker and his big sister is also quite chatty.

“After he started pre-school around Christmas last year, it started to grate on me and I started to get really worried as he couldn’t tell us what he wanted.

Albie struggles to communicate what he needs or wants when he is at pre-school.

“Albie started to get really frustrated and he would go to other children to play with them but they wouldn’t understand so he would be getting left behind.

“He uses a lot of pointing and gestures and it has taken us years to learn what he wants to say and we know him quite well, so it must be so hard for him with teachers who don’t know him so well.

“Albie is very resilient though and he just gets on with it. It is lucky he is such a happy and confident boy, but he needs the opportunity to be heard and understood, especially at school."

Albie attends speech therapy once a week and his family are working really hard to help him learn to talk, but they are not sure how long this will take.

In the meantime, they are hoping to raise money to buy a speech board for his pre-school and his attached future primary school in Culworth to help Albie and any other children with communication difficulties.

Louisa added: “He has to learn one sound at a time. He is learning how to say the word ‘me’ but he has to learn each sound separately.

“The therapist has to physically show him how to make the sound and the condition means he makes inconsistent errors.

“He has been going since February and we are still working on ‘me’. There is no timeline, it is taking a lot of time and practice, so we just don’t know how much he will ever be able to say.”

The board that the family is fundraising for will help Albie to communicate what he needs and wants at school, as there will be pictures he can point to.

As well as Albie’s primary school, the family is also planning to buy boards for other primary schools in the area to help other children with communication difficulties.

“It’s not solving the problem, but it will help him as he goes through school,” Louisa continued.

“It’s not the same as being able to speak and he will still get frustrated, but it is a start and it will make him feel proud of himself that he is able to communicate what he wants.

“Albie deserves to have a voice while he can't use his own.”

The target on the online fundraiser has already been beaten by a lot, so Louisa is also hoping to look into buying an iPad for the school, which will be loaded with a system that can speak for Albie and other children.

Any other additional funds will be donated to a verbal dyspraxia charity.

To donate to Albie’s cause, visit the GoFundMe page here.

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