CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
When a child is diagnosed with a speech impediment, it can cause stress, angst and depression. Sometimes children can go into isolation out of fear due to that lack of clarity and understanding. According to the American Speech Language Hearing Association: "Language disorders can hinder a child's ability to hold meaningful conversations, problem solve or to be able to comprehend and express thoughts through spoken or written words."
With that in mind--Cincinnati mom Leah Jones Finklea sprang into action after she learned her daughter had a speech impediment. After learning Leiana, was being shunned by classmates because they couldn't quite understand her she wanted to do something to help her find her voice. So she created an outlet for learning in the form of a cooking show via Facebook. The show would be used to not only build her confidence but to be the voice for those who suffer from the same ailment.
With a bright smile and even brighter personality the local internet sensation is stealing hearts one sweet recipe at a time. In her latest video posted on her "Amazing Amy" Facebook cooking show, she is making jello hearts--opening up the video with the natural excitement of a 5 year old presenting her latest creation to the world. In the background, you can hear her mother, Leah, correcting her when she mispronounces the name of an ingredient. It's her way of helping "Amazing Amy" overcome the speech impediment diagnosis given to her after teachers said students had a hard time understanding her. "Initially I was told when she was in head start that she had a possible speech impediment," says Leah. "They said that a lot of times other kids in her class, it was hard for them to understand her. So that made them shy away her so she was left to sometimes play by herself which hurt her feelings and it was sad just like it would be for any child. As a parent, I wanted to think of a way that I can encourage her not to be so shy and to speak up, also to help with her clarity in her speech."
Cooking was a natural choice for Leah, since Leiana already had some experience helping her in the kitchen at home. "Everybody that meets her just absolutely falls in love with her," says Leah. "When it came to cooking that was something that me and my mother shared when I was young. I saw the same thing with her. We would all get in the kitchen for holidays and cook and when she would cook she would kind of turn into an alter ego--turn into someone else."
That alter-ego, "Amazing Amy," has proven to be a confidence booster for the 5 year old who didn't have a problem saying she had ambitions to be a cooking mega-star. She seems to be enjoying her new found internet fame, especially amongst her class mates. She says she loves to make her classmates laugh and enjoys when they watch and engage with her during her cooking show.
Leah only hopes the development of "Amazing Amy's" cooking skills will lead to a development in her speech. She encourages parents to find what works for their children in order to help them navigate life's difficulties.
"For her, it's cooking, but for someone else it might be reading out loud or different things. It's really knowing your child and finding something your child loves and pairing it with that."
With Amazing Amy's growing popularity, the internet cooking sensation is selling t-shirts in order to get more ingredients so she can cook up sweet treats like the cookie monster dessert you saw her make in our FOX 19 NOW kitchen. If you want to know more about the enthusiastic 5-year-old, click here to visit the "Amazing Amy" Facebook page.
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