The family of a teenager who has suffered a life-long speech disorder today praised Blackpool-born singer Aiden Grimshaw –for finally bringing her nightmare to an end.
When Lara Emslie was just four years old she was diagnosed with selective mutism – an anxiety disorder which meant by the time she was 14 she had only spoken very quietly to seven of her family members.
Lara, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, was unable to speak in school and unable to stand up to people who bullied her.
Years of counselling made no difference to her condition, and her family were left in despair.
But relief came from the most unusual of sources – when Lara’s favourite singer Aiden, the North Shore lad who found fame on the X Factor in 2010, paid a visit to her home town.
Lara’s mum, Angie Scott-Emslie, said: “While listening to our local radio station one day I heard Aiden Grimshaw was having a CD signing in HMV, Belfast.
“I collected Lara from school and took her to HMV. We waited in the queue, and when Lara got to Aiden he asked how she was and she said, ‘Good thanks’.
“We both left HMV in tears.”
The following month, after a particularly tough time at school, Angie decided to take Lara, now 16, to see Aiden again.
Armed with a sat nav and overnight bag they caught a boat to Liverpool and set about following him on his tour around Britain in Leeds, Manchester, Oxford and London. And after each gig Lara and Aiden shared a conversation. Now teenager Lara is speaking more than ever.
“It has made such a difference to my daughter’s life,” added Angie.