CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Lots of new #MollysKids this week. I don’t apologize for the many posts - these kids are incredible and their families are proud for you to meet them.
With that said, here's 10-year-old Emmalee Speigle. She's showing the world that an "illness" doesn't define you.
Emalee is at Hildebran Elementary PTA School. She lives with Tourette’s syndrome, multiple sensory issues, low gross motor skills and is diagnosed with “high functioning autism”... yet... she won the Burke County elementary and middle school spelling bee this week.
She’s also part of her school student government, chorus, member of Math Counts and Battle of the Books, will compete in a robotics competition this year, and made a PERFECT score on her 4th grade reading EOG.
AND, Emmalee is one of two kids doing morning announcements on closed circuit TV each morning.
That's a lot for anyone!
Her mom, Diane Speigle, says as a child Emmalee seemed more interested in observing the world. She picked up language very early -- recognizing letters at 18-months -- but spoke so infrequently, that even close family doubted their stories about her vocabulary.
By age 2 and-a-half Emmalee was reading fluently.
“Working in a pediatric office, I recognized the likely signs of autism very early in her life,” Diane said. “But we didn’t seek official testing until she was nearly seven. We’d been able to manage her care without services up to that point."
Diane also says Tourette’s was evident as a toddler, but her family thought the “stuttering” and “deep sighs” were acid reflux.
She does have ever-changing tics that are a part of her life, and yet, beautifully, Emmalee is described as a “social butterfly,” who has exceed everyone’s expectations.
You read her list of school activities... her non-school life is great too. Emmalee plays T-ball with a Walk-in-Roll all-abilities activity league, loves all things Disney, Minecraft, drawing, Legos, is an orange belt in karate, and adores playing outside with her dog, Molly.
“She doesn’t care who knows about her issues,” said Diane. “Even at 10 years old, she’ll happily educate anyone who asks. As her motor skills continue to improve, her self-esteem is soaring.”
Welcome to #MollysKids, Emmalee. Congrats on it all!
**Editor’s note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there, which is why it’s written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story and updates on all #MollysKids here.