Astrid Barahona

Astrid Barahona is considered a social butterfly and is always making new friends at the ANINI organization where she has lived for the past several years. One of Astrid’s biggest passions is riding horses and she even represented Guatemala in the 2015 special Olympics for equestrian events. Being incredibly talented, she brought home a bronze medal for Guatemala! Astrid has accomplished amazing things in her life despite the
difficulties she faces. At a very young age, Astrid was abandoned by her family and found by ANINI where she has lived ever since. It’s there where Astrid was diagnosed with Down Syndrome, which among others things has inhibited her speech development.

“We couldn’t have been more proud of Astrid when she won her
Olympic medal” – Diario Digital, 2015

Because of her condition Astrid’s speech and language capabilities are significantly impaired. Growing up in ANINI, she was unable to speak or be understood by her peers and caretakers. This caused a difficult time forming relationships with other people and often times she felt like she couldn’t relate to anyone. Astrid’s cognitive ability improved through various therapies, but her speech was still a challenge. As with many children who have speech disorders, Astrid never felt comfortable communicating with people and began isolating herself.

“Astrid preferred to move away because she was afraid that others would reject her for not being able to speak to them.” – ANINI Caregiver

Astrid was one of a few chosen nearly 2 years ago to receive a speech therapy sponsorship from F.A.S.T. She was excited for this new possibility and quickly began working with the SmartPalate and CompleteSpeech. After working in therapy, Astrid had better control of her mouth and tongue and had her increased communication skills. She still isn’t able to fully speak, but speech therapy has helped her improve her ability to communicate. Now Astrid can express herself and doesn’t feel afraid communicating with others. She has blossomed and grown to be an even more social and kind hearted girl she always had been on the inside. The gift of to communicate truly brightened her world and that of all those around her!