Little Miss uses AAC at national beauty pageant

2 minute read

Gwen’s parents committed to not give up and see each day as an opportunity to try everything, so when Gwen got the chance to participate in the National American Miss (NAM) they didn’t have to think twice.

Gwen was born with a duplication of her 10th chromosome, made rare by its location, along with a single X chromosome and level 3 Microtia Atresia. Doctors were initially concerned about her quality of life. However, Gwen has proven them all wrong.

Among other things, Gwen has difficulty speaking. While Gwen’s preschool teacher suggested Proloquo2Go as an option, none of Gwen’s teachers or therapists had any knowledge or experience with it. Gwen’s mother, Staci, decided to attended seminars in order to learn about the system. “It was a bit unsettling,” she said, but “her teachers and classmates were all excited about the program.”

Many improvements

Kids being kids, the hard part was convincing them not to take Gwen’s iPad to play games on it. Once they learned that it was her voice and not just for playing, her relationships with them took off. “I think the best has been that Gwen is able to express age-appropriate behavior with Proloquo2Go,” her mother explained. “It might sound silly, but she can communicate and make friends better at school. She can choose certain words to make her friends understand and laugh with her.”

Thanks to her mom making her words available at home, school, and out on the town right from the start, Gwen picked up Proloquo2Go pretty quickly. Her family’s goal was to minimize limitations for her, and has found that Proloquo2Go has improved her speech greatly.

“Proloquo2Go has dramatically changed not only Gwen’s communication, but the world and people that work with her,” her mother said. “Gwen can now say so much more spontaneously on her own. She’s not so frustrated anymore.”

Open to new things

These days, Gwen loves to try new things and has gone on to participate in gymnastics, dance, swimming, and Taekwondo, where she has won medals in addition to her white belt with black stripe.

She also participated in the local level beauty pageant last July. Gwen really shined on stage, where she interviewed with each judge and answered questions with Proloquo2Go alongside the other contestants.

Girl in beauty pageant dress
Gwen ready for the beauty pageant

After the local level beauty pageant Gwen and her family started preparing for the Nationals on the 25th of November, 2016. They prepared a personal introduction speech with her therapist by customizing the buttons, and also purchased a microphone for continued practice. Gwen had a great time during the Nationals, made many new friends and also reconnected with some old friends from the state pageant. She did many things like several theme party's, going to Disneyland, attending the Turkey Banquet, and even tried winning a new car.

"Nationals was so much fun! Gwen really did shine! We are so proud of her and everything she has accomplished in this pageant and in her life," Staci shared. “With Proloquo2Go it made a dream a reality for Gwen. It helped bridge at the gap, for Gwen. Anything is possible”

Best of luck to you, Gwen!