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“Did you just say ‘Mama?'” 5-year-old with nonverbal autism says first word, surprising parents

ATHENS, Ala. - A child's first word is always a major milestone but, for families with nonverbal children, it's one that can seem out of reach.

Taylor Blankenship is 5 years old and has nonverbalĀ autism.

"So many people take for granted that their kids talk to them or they talk them to death," said Taylor's mom, Briana Blankenship. "They're tired of hearing 'Mama' 30 times a day. They don't realize that there are parents like us that literally dream that their kids are going to do that, that they're going to wake up and their kid is going to be asking them like for juice or anything."

Taylor's brain processes information differently than most. She has been in speech therapy since she was 3.

Much to Briana's surprise, Taylor said her first word last month. Taylor said 'Mama' while they were waiting in a drive-thru.

"I heard her say it, and I whipped around and I'm just like 'Did you just say 'Mama?'" she said. "And, she said it again. And, I was like, 'Oh my God!'"

Briana posted a video of Taylor saying her first word on her Facebook. It has since gone viral.

Briana said she hopes the video inspires other families with nonverbal children. The next word on the list for Taylor to learn is Dada.