Touching moment Little girl born with no voice finds her voice – video

Watch touching moment little girl with no voice bursts into laughter, for the first time!

 Amazing moment little Amber laughed for the first time.

Loving parents Tracy and Julian Austwick feared they may never hear their precious daughter’s voice.
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Photo: Birmingham Mail
Having fun: Amber with Shocks the donkey and her riding instructor at Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary 



Twin sisters Hope and Amber were born 26 weeks premature, weighing just 800g and 700g, and had to be rushed straight into intensive care. But as Hope grew in strength, Amber struggled to breathe on her own, and needed to have an emergency tracheotomy
Its positioning meant no air passed over Amber’s vocal cords so her mum and dad never heard their daughter cry or laugh. They had no idea whether her voice box was permanently damaged.

Amber and her twin sister Hope
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Photo: Birmingham Mail

Then, at the age of two, after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Amber visited Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary. And, quite simply, her life changed forever. Doctors weren’t sure whether the little girl would walk or talk but she became determined to do both, for Shocks. Bolstered by Amber’s courage, Tracy and Julian decided to see if their daughter had a voice.“We’d never heard her at all,” adds Tracy.

“When she cried, we never heard anything because the air never carried past her voicebox due to the tracheotomy. We used Makaton (a language program using signs and symbols) to communicate. “We had no idea if her vocal chords were paralyzed. It was such a relief to know she had a voice.”

Amber pictured in hospital as a baby fighting hard
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Photo: Birmingham Mail

Playtime: Amber and her sister Hope with Shocks the donkey
“I remember walking in and seeing Shocks, a massive black donkey who looked angry,” says Tracy, 37, from Kingstanding. “But Amber fell in love with him. She cuddled his nose, it was like they made friends straight away.

“A member of staff put her on his back and she stroked his neck, which was badly scarred from where he’d been mistreated. I thought he might bolt and run off but he just stood there and let Amber cuddle him. “It was really lovely, like they’d known each other for ages.”

“It was just such a happy moment,” says dad Julian. “I sang the song ‘My Hat, It Has Three Corners.” “We had seen her laugh, but never heard it before.” “My mum – she’s Nanny Di to the girls – was also there. It was just amazing to hear Amber laughing.”

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Photo: Birmingham Mail
 
Tracy and Julian Austwick with Amber and twin sister Hope.
A speech therapist had suggested that -Amber could try a speaking valve and the family were delighted when it worked.

“She started talking to Shocks in her own language,” says Tracy.
“We couldn’t really understand what she was saying but it was her way of talking. “Hope worked hard to talk to her, too. “Then one day I said ‘You love Shocks, don’t you?’ and she said ‘Love Shocks.’ It was really cute!

“She also laughed for the first time on my her own as we were playing at home with our dog, Ruby. “It sounds like such a tiny thing to most people – but to us it was amazing.” It was around the same time that Amber took her first steps, too.

“I’d been devastated when Amber was diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a result of a bleed on the brain at birth,” says Tracy. “I thought ‘She’s not going to walk, she’ll be in a wheelchair.’

“All these horrible thoughts went through my mind but there was nothing we could do.”  “When I’d first seen Amber in an incubator several hours after she’d been born, she was black and bruised, wrapped in bubble wrap. “She didn’t look like a baby at all, she was so tiny. “So to see her taking her first steps was a lovely moment.”

Shocks the donkey had been abused and left for dead on a farm in Ireland, and no-one ever thought he would make a full recovery. But it seemed the more time Amber and Shocks spent together at the donkey sanctuary, in Sutton Park, the more they both developed. “They had a real trust between them right from the start,” says Tracy.

“The first time Shocks saw Amber coming, he lowered his head so she could wrap her arms around his nose.” “It was as if they understood each other’s pain.

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Photo: Birmingham Mail

Touching: Amber Austwick with Shocks the donkey, at Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary
“Mentally, she’s really good, she’s really brainy. She can control her speaking valve so she can switch it off if she needs more air during PE or to clear her throat. “And she’s a massive character – we’re always laughing and joking with her: “At the book launch, she sat with Ruth, the ghost writer and, as people were coming to have their books signed, she said ‘Next person please!” “We don’t want her to think her condition is a bad thing because we can’t change it. It’s part of her, that’s our Amber.”

 

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