Meet Astrid Barahona
Astrid is considered a social butterfly and is always making new friends at the ANINI organization where she lives. One of Astrid’s biggest passions is riding horses, and she even represented Guatemala in the 2015 special Olympics for equestrian events. With her talent, she brought home a bronze medal for Guatemala!
We couldn’t have been more proud of Astrid when she won her Olympic medal.
Astrid has accomplished amazing things in her life despite the difficulties she has faced. At a very young age, Astrid was abandoned by her family and found by the ANINI organization. It was there where Astrid was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, which, among others things, has inhibited her speech development. Growing up, she was unable to speak or be understood by her peers or caretakers at ANINI. This caused her to struggle to connect and build relationships with others. Astrid’s cognitive ability improved through various therapies, but her speech was still a challenge. As with many children who have speech disorders, Astrid never felt comfortable communicating with people and began to isolate herself.
Astrid preferred to be by herself because she was afraid that others would reject her for not being able to speak to them.
Astrid was one of a few sponsored children chosen nearly 2 years ago to receive a speech therapy sponsorship from FAST. She began working with the SmartPalate from CompleteSpeech during her speech therapy. Over time, Astrid developed better oral coordination skills, which is the first step in her speech intervention. With her increased oral coordination, her accuracy has gone up nearly 50% in under a year, where she is now able to produce various sounds. She uses these few sounds to communicate. Astrid still needs more speech therapy and assistance through additional sponsorships which we hope you can help provide. As her language develops, she blossoms and grows to be more social and less isolated. The gift of communication brightens her world and that of all those around her!
Once you break through her shell, Astrid is one of the funniest and loving children I have ever met.
Dave, FAST CEO