Abigail the Advocate - Blub Talks #3
Welcome to another Blub Talks podcast with our host Jaka Z. This episode’s guest is Down syndrome advocate, Abigail Adams, known as “Abigail the Advocate,” and her father, Steve Adams. This week’s theme is achievement, overcoming obstacles, and reaching one’s full potential. After watching this podcast, you begin to understand how this is totally NOT a problem for Abigail and her father.
Listen to Blub Talks with Abigail the Advocate
This podcast started with Jaka listing all of the impressive achievements Abigail the Advocate has experienced, which include: becoming a public speaker, a model, an actress, a Special Olympics athlete, and a triathlete. She has also appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and has acted in commercials for Disney and Universal Studios.
Her favorite thing to do is exercise, which includes (among others): cheerleading, swimming, surfing, training for triathlons with her friend Chris, and her favorite, gymnastics. In her free time, she likes to Facetime with friends, as well as socialize via Snapchat and Facebook, spends time with her boyfriend, she entered her first beauty pageant, and has been in various fashion shows. She truly loves make-up and fashion.
About her nickname, “Abigail the Advocate,” she says that to her it means that she’s “a type of teacher,” and that it came from the fact that she “really loves people and little kids!”
Every day is a celebration, a blessing, and a testimony to the importance of determination!
Father Steve Adams says, “That people with disabilities have abilities, . . . It’s important to be able to work to find those.” He also insisted that (as a parent of a child with Down syndrome) “Make sure that you are not what’s keeping your loved one from being successful. Don’t keep them from trying things, and if they don’t succeed at first, don’t be afraid to keep trying.”
Jaka then asked “what kind of speech issues did Abigail have at first?”
Steve emphasized the importance of early intervention, and said that speech therapy “was something she started very early, when she was an infant.” He also wanted to make clear that “The amount of difference speech therapy has had is immeasurable, and is a part of so many things, like: interacting with her peers, participating in events she would otherwise not be able to, and she’s also able to help her friends.” He said this “is a large part of being an advocate, she’s able to help her friends participate in events they wouldn’t normally be able to, and she can help them to be more clear.”
Jaka asked more specifically about practicing speech therapy at home, and Steve mentioned that Abigail has had speech therapy for 16 years (she’s 20), and longer if you count work on her oral motor skills. She currently attends sessions once a week. Steve also mentioned that the first issue they had to deal with was “low (muscle) tone,” since kids with Down’s are often born with hypotonia and looseness of ligaments.
Steve then went on to say that at-home practice consisted of lots of repetition and happens everywhere. “Whether it’s at a restaurant, at home, in the car, we do little things, because it’s so important to repeat. She gets tired of hearing me say, “can you say it more clearly?” so that we’ve developed our own sign language (so I can ask without words) for when we’re in public.”
Abby says, “They do help,” and says her favorite speech therapy exercises are listening exercises.
Steve also said it’s important not to be satisfied with easy word answers, that they constantly work on “expanding things, and not accepting simple one-word answers.” Steve ended the podcast saying, “She’s had a much more adventurous life than I had (at her age), but it’s a lot of hard work. And Abigail is a very hard worker.
Hurray for Abigail! You’re truly an inspiration.
Reach out when you have questions on how to use Speech Blubs to improve speech at home!