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5-Year-Old Boy With Paralysed Vocal Cords Speaks For The First Time

By - 30th August 2018

There are a lot of things we take for granted in this world; fresh drinking water, food to eat and loving families. But one little kid was desperate for one thing that most of us have – a voice.

We don’t think twice when it comes to speaking, we just do it. It feels as natural as breathing or blinking. But for 5-year-old Judah Bittner from Port Charlotte, Florida, it was an impossibility – until now.

Judah and his sister Annikah were born 24 weeks early and they weighed just over 1lb at birth. Doctors didn’t think they’d have a chance at survival, but the siblings proved to be fighters who pulled through!

Unfortunately, due to the premature birth, Judah suffers from many health problems which required him to be hospitalised for several months back in 2015.

Judah was struggling to stay alive so he was given a tracheotomy tube to help him breathe as a toddler. Sadly, this tube damaged Judah’s vocal cords which left them paralyzed – since then, he’s never been able to use his voice.

Not being able to speak is such a huge battle and can leave someone with incredibly low self-esteem. Thankfully, both Judah and his sister were adopted into the perfect family who has helped them overcome many of their difficulties.

Mike Bittner and his wife Jessica are the adoptive parents to 5 kids who all have special needs and developmental delays. But these two dedicated parents devote their lives to helping their children blossom and thrive!

Electrolarynx device

At the age of 5, Judah was ready to receive a new piece of technology that would change his life forever.

Judah would receive an Electrolarynx device to help him speak

Jessica recorded the moment when a speech pathologist introduced little Judah to the Electrolarynx device. But what is it? The device creates vibrations to mimic your vocal cords. When you hold the device to your chin/neck and speak, the device creates the vocal vibrations required to make sound and that’s how you speak.

I have to say, when I first watched this video, I knew what the little device did and how it worked, but what truly impressed me was how incredibly talented, friendly and approachable the speech pathologist is!

She puts the little boy to ease and comfortably teaches him how to use the device. Though he was shy and nervous at first, she managed to bring him out of his shell professionally and kindly.

Judah heard himself speak for the first time

You can tell that the moment the little boy heard his voice for the first time, he was stunned. After the encounter went viral online, Judah’s mom shared a little update on how he’s getting on with his Electrolarynx device:

Judah is slowly getting used to using his “voice box” or “buzzer”! His kindergarten classmates encourage him to use it- which helps! We are still looking to have Judah go through surgeries that would reconstruct his airway. Once his airway is stable and can support his breathing we may be able to remove the trach! And then, finally, we can have the necessary procedures done to try to fix his vocal cord paralysis. It’s a long journey! But he’s a champion! Most electrolarynx users are older than Judah bug. He’s a unique case!

We’re so happy Judah is getting used to his new voice and that his friends at school are super encouraging! This will certainly mean the world to this little guy.

Don’t forget to watch 5-year-old Judah learn to use his first-ever Electrolarynx device in the video below. Also, at Happiest we love hearing all of your opinions. So please let us know what you thought of the article in the comment section. 🐝