Lizzie Busic, 4, was diagnosed with a genetic syndrome that causes language delays. With support from the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities and other community partners, the Newark girl was able to start using an iPad to communicate.
Lizzie Busic has a lot to say.
And she doesn’t let a speech delay stop her from doing all the things a typical 4-year-old loves to do.
Whether she’s at home or at school, Lizzie, of Newark, uses an iPad and a LAMP Words for Life app to communicate with others — about her Halloween costume, her favorite foods or what game she’d like to play next.
Her parents, Anna and Jason Busic, credit the Licking County Board of Developmental Disabilities (LCBDD) with connecting them with the resources they needed to help Lizzie find her voice.
“She gets to participate in the community and do all these things because of (the board’s) services,” Anna said.
When Lizzie was born, she received treatment for several medical issues.
But it wasn’t until she was 2 that doctors discovered these problems were caused by 10q Deletion Syndrome — a chromosome abnormality that often causes developmental delays.
Even before her diagnosis, Lizzie’s pediatrician referred her to LCBDD’s Early Intervention program. Staff members began helping her improve her coordination and balance.
Although she’s made great progress, Lizzie still struggles with a significant speech delay. Many children with 10q Deletion Syndrome don’t obtain speech until they’re much older.
“That’s why all the services have been so important,” Anna said. “Because the amount of work you do when they are little will determine how far she gets with her speech. We really have to work on it, but it will come with the work.”
Lizzie was incredibly tenacious during speech therapy, but it was clear she was getting frustrated that she couldn’t communicate her wants and needs.
Using LCBDD’s Family Support Services funding, the Busics were able to help Lizzie learn some sign language.
But when she enrolled at Flying Colors Public Preschool, her parents wanted to her to have more communication options.
“We knew she was going to be 4 and she had a lot to say,” Anna said. “We thought, ‘What else can we do?'”
With support from LCBDD speech therapist Janelle Pickens and her speech therapist at Flying Colors, Lizzie went to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessment. The test determined that an iPad and LAMP app would help her to communicate.
Lizzie’s service coordinator, Lorrie Miller, told the Busics assistance might be available through the Licking County Foundation’s Thomas M. Kier Memorial Fund.
Established in the 1970s, the fund was established to support the unmet needs of children with disabilities in Licking County.
The Foundation recently established a partnership with LCBDD, providing the agency with an annual distribution from the Kier Fund to provide financial assistance to the families of the children it supports.
Lizzie’s parents were thrilled to find out they qualified for support from the fund.
“Without support from (LCBDD) we wouldn’t have realized that was out there,” Anna said.
“It’s been a huge blessing for her,” Anna said. “She takes it to school and she’s starting to put multiple words together. We feel good knowing she has the resources to communicate.”
Lizzie was recently invited to attend an AAC class at Children’s and helped other kids her age learn to use their devices, Anna said.
She seems eager to learn and take on new challenges, her mother said.
“We go one day at a time,” she said. “But we do know that the more we can do and the more resources we have, the better her outcome is going to be.”
Lizzie continues to receive support from LCBDD’s early childhood team.
“When you have that support, it’s easier to do more if you know there are people out there you can turn to,” Anna said. “To have these resources here in Licking County has been very valuable for our whole family.”