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Davis Journal

Autistic girl speaks through letters and her art

May 12, 2023 12:56PM ● By Becky Ginos

Liduvina Burgoin performs during the Utah Miss Amazing pageant for women and girls with disabilities. She won in the Jr. Teen division. Courtesy photo

KAYSVILLE—When Liduvina Burgoin was 2 years old she was making art out of household items and drawing detailed pictures. She picked up languages quickly and wowed everyone with her knowledge. It wasn’t until sometime later that her mother realized her daughter had some delays.

“She was born three months early,” said her mother Migdalia. “She was raised bilingual but she was slow in speech. I thought it was because of that but I took her to a party for 4 and 5-year-olds who were bilingual and they were interacting with the other kids. It started clicking that she was delayed.”

Liduvina was diagnosed with level three autism, she said. “This makes it so she is limited in speaking.”

It was only last year through RPM therapy that they discovered Liduvina, now 12, could communicate through pointing at letters on a letter board, said Migdalia. “We found out that what she was pointing to with the letters was so different from what she was saying out loud. Up until last year we had no way to truly understand her thoughts and opinions, which has been groundbreaking in our life.”

Liduvina picks up things and remembers it all, Migdalia said. “She has a communication device and she’s been doing academic lessons. It’s college level and she knows so much already. She hears it once and she remembers it.”

The therapist had her write a story, she said. “Liduvina wrote about a girl in North Korea who escaped. It was a scary thing. I didn’t know where she would have even been exposed to that or where she was getting the information from.”

Right now she’s into Russian language and letters, said Migdalia. “We thought she was just making it up but she’s actually singing the alphabet. She can definitely speak Spanish and English with her letter board. Everyone at the school is blown away.”

Migdalia said Liduvina is doing art all the time. “She’s been selling some of her art. She wanted to buy a high quality printer so we posted some of her custom shoes on Nextdoor and she got enough orders the first day to buy one.”

Liduvina can do paintings backwards on glass, said Migdalia. “It looks perfect when you turn it around.”

Liduvina recently won the Jr. Teen division of Utah Miss Amazing, a pageant for women and girls with disabilities. “She will represent Utah in the National Pageant at the end of July,” said Migdalia. “A couple of years ago she wasn’t old enough to win. She got old enough, 10, during COVID but now she was old enough and did win it.”

It was hard for her to speak but the judges saw her art and they were blown away, she said. “Her talent in the pageant was singing and while she sang her art played in the background.”

Wearing the crown and sash she felt like a celebrity, said Migdalia. “People would come up and talk to her. It was a good experience for her to communicate.”

Liduvina has been volunteering with the homeless and the Special Olympics giving out medals. “I was surprised I won,” Liduvina said by typing it out on her computer and with the help of her mother. “I like helping the homeless and I like giving out the medals at the basketball tournament and making things with Russian letters. I like the Russian alphabet song. RPM lessons also bring me joy.”

It’s been such a good opportunity to find out she could speak through letters, said Migdalia. “We had no idea she could do it. Her goal is to write a book. She’s going from not being able to speak to being able to speak. I feel like I’m getting to talk to my daughter. Especially since she is so interesting and smart.” λ