Connecticut Teen, Once Unable to Speak, Defies Odds

Lindsay Giroux has a lot to say.

Seriously. She's quite a talker.

The 18-year-old Montville High School senior talks about her school work, about her work-study internship in the radiology department at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich and about her friends.

Giroux talks about her insecurities and her deep love for her family; her speech quickens as she tells stories of all the "goofy" things she and her three siblings do.

It's amazing to learn that about a dozen years ago her parents were told she'd never speak.

"We took her to a speech person ... He told me she'd never talk and if she does, (I) will cringe at the sounds that utter from her mouth. My jaw dropped," said Michelle Giroux, Lindsay's mother. "But I still didn't know why.

"Michelle and her husband, Andy, Lindsay's father, were persistent. They went through a check list of "whys" to find out what was keeping Lindsay from talking. They read a lot, joined a variety of groups, including one for twins - Lindsay has a twin sister, Lauren - anything to find out why.

Finally, when she was in early elementary school, a dentist discovered Lindsay had a tumor in the upper front area of her mouth. It was removed, and her front teeth were then surgically pulled down into place.

Years of braces and surgery to repair her mouth and teeth followed.

"It was kinda difficult when I had my speech problems ... most of the time going through all that stuff," Lindsay said recently.

"I was shy freshman year. I don't know ... just trying to get used to the school and adjust and meeting new people, and also because I was a bit self-conscious about my speech. I remember staying home saying I didn't feel good and was told to suck it up and go anyway," she said, laughing.

Teacher Naomi Fiora calls her "one of the most optimist and tenacious students that I have run into."

"She just retains this certain approach to life with an optimistic view, but not Pollyanna. She knows there are hard things to be done, but if she encounters difficulty she will find a way to get around it."

After making new friends, Lindsay gradually became more comfortable in high school. She took college preparatory classes. She played one year of volleyball and managed the rest and participated in the track program.

She'll attend Three Rivers Community College this fall to complete her general studies degree before moving on to be certified as an X-ray technician.

How she became interested in radiology is another quirky and funny story, as Lindsay tells it.

In a podiatrist's examining room, where she had gone to have her feet evaluated, Lindsay was reassured that her feet were fine, but by then she had become distracted by the equipment and evaluation process under way.

"I like the technology aspect of it and started asking more questions about that than my toes," she said with a broad grin.

When asked to reflect on Lindsay's four-year high school career, Michelle Giroux and Fiora both started to cry.

"It hasn't been easy really. What else can I say? She's done it," Michelle said.