UPLAND, CA -In what doctors are reporting as a medical breakthrough, 15-year-old Rachelle Bremerton has said a complete sentence for the first time in three years.
Bremerton, like hundreds of thousands of other American teens, has been unable to communicate with anyone older than 18.
“Kids these days are just really struggle to communicate,” said Bremerton’s Pediatrician, Dr. Jermaine Chumpa M.D.. “Really, we’re talking comparable to someone with severe autism. Or someone who has no voice box. Or, just to ram it home, a severely autistic person with no voice box. Basically non-verbal. So to have a young person actually utter a full, coherent sentence is amazing. Simply amazing.”
Bremerton’s sentence, “Can I have my phone now?” came after two years of intense speech and cognitive therapy.
“It’s been a long and hard road to get to where we are today,” said Lourdes Chambell, Speech Language Pathologist. “When I started seeing (Bremerton), I was lucky if I’d even get a single eye roll or sideways glance from her. I mean I’ve tried to discharge her and write her off as a lost cause several times, but right when I’m about to we have a sudden breakthrough. A new word here. An almost sentence there. It was very maddening. But I’ll tell you, I’m glad I stuck with it, because now I know there will be hope for my kids in the future.”
Prior to the therapy, the closest Bremerton was able to get to a full sentence was “I… can’t even… really.”
“Before the treatment (Bremerton) was only able to string together a seemingly random assortment of words that together made no sense whatsoever,” said Chambell. “And for every word she said, there were a couple noises added. Her parents just assumed she was retarded but some of us here thought she might just be really lazy… and also a little stupid. But not retarded. We didn’t think she was retarded. I’ve worked with a lot of retarded kids and hell, they’re rocket scientists compared to (Bremerton).”
Bremerton’s parents are excited by the breakthrough but remain pessimistic about the possibilities of communicating with their daughter.
“It’s been so long since we’ve been able to communicate with our little girl,” said Bremerton’s mother, Diane Veers. “For the most part we’ve been able to figure things out, like when she says ‘meh’ we think she’s saying ‘I love you’ or when she says ‘guh’ she’s really saying ‘I’m hungry and I’d like a red Starburst.’ So we’ve had that going for us. But it’ll be so nice to be able to hear her sweet voice again.”
While doctors do not know why Bremerton and other teens can not complete sentences, they think that rap music, or possibly heavy metal, is at least partially to blame.
“We honestly have no idea why these kids struggle with verbal communication like they do but it’s probably that rap music that’s so popular these days. Or maybe heavey metal,” said Chumpa. “Maybe it’s violent video games. Or sexting. Maybe it’s the violence in movies. Probably high fructose corn syrup.”