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Behind the Breakthroughs

Oct 3, 2018

In this episode we take a look at a mother’s journey when her daughter says her first word, "Mama." This moment was captured on video and quickly went viral on many social media outlets. Taylor's video touched the hearts of many as they feel her happiness and pure joy in saying her first word.

Meet Briana Blankenship as she shares her experiences with her daughter Taylor. After going to many doctor's who told her Taylor, "Was fine." and that, "She would grow out of it," Briana knew something was not right. She trusted her intuition and demanded that her daughter receive an official diagnosis of autism. Her journey is similar to many parents who struggle to get services for their child. Despite it all, Briana focused on the positive and was rewarded with hearing her daughters first word be Mama. This is an episode you don't want to miss!  


  • Our special guest is Briana Blankenship.
  • Earlier this year she posted a video of her daughter on social media saying her first word, “Mama" and it went viral touching many hearts.
  • She explains how she got started on the autism journey later than others.
  • Her daughter Taylor was an only child and Briana didn’t have any friends or family members with children to compare Taylor to.
  • Her doctor believed there was not anything to be concerned about.
  • However, her daycare had concerns and expressed them to Briana.
  • She got a second opinion from a doctor who believed Taylor was fine and she would, "Grow out of it. Every child is different."
  • Taylor met all the developmental milestones. Taylor was loving, she made eye contact, the only thing she was not doing was speaking.
  • Briana went to a speech therapist who showed Briana and her husband all the things Taylor should be doing.
  • It was an eye opener for Briana and she felt like such an awful parent. Taylor was 3 when she started speech therapy and she started late based on what several pediatricians told her.
  • Fortunately, Taylor has a great program in her public school system. Evaluations were done at school.
  • However, no official diagnosis was made because doctors were still resistant.
  • Briana and her husband decided to take matters into their own hands.
  • There were no resources until Briana demanded to transfer doctors or to refer her to a doctor that could officially diagnosis her daughter.
  • It's amazing to hear that so many places and professionals are still unaware of autism. Hearing things like boys develop later, he will talk later, or walk later. It's disheartening to hear pediatricians specifically are not open.
  • Taylor has limited language and cannot converse. She can answer a direct question or make a request on the ipad.
  • On April 30, 2018 Taylor was headed gymnastics. Before class they went through a McDonalds Drive Thru.
  • Taylor was excited for her french fries. While sitting in the long line of drive thru, Taylor said, "Mama." She said it again and again.
  • Briana grabbed the phone because she wanted her husband and mom to see her saying mama so they would believe it.
  • At the drive thru window Briana was crying and the workers didn't know what was wrong.
  • She parked in the parking lot, called her husband so he could hear her, then called her mom and left a voicemail. She was blubbering the whole time.
  • She wanted more people to hear Taylor say, "Mama," so she uploaded it to Facebook and tagged her family members and went to gymnastics class.
  • After class it already had 200 likes and many comments within 45 minutes. The next morning it had 900 likes and the likes continued to increase.
  • Videos like that resonate with people especially when a child with autism speaks.
  • Taylor was so happy saying Mama and that is what people were really drawn to because they felt her happiness and pure joy.
  • The video lights your heart in which people can connect with and is very inspirational.

MINDSHIFT (takeaways)

  1. Trust your gut... your instinct. When something does not feel right to you get a second opinion. Don’t’ take what your doctors says as truth. 
  1. Don’t take for granted the small successes you have because there is always someone else that wishes their child is doing something that your child is doing.