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Disco Kitchen DJs help Haverhill boy, four, to speak for the first time




A four-year-old boy, who had not uttered a single word since birth, has spoken for the first time after being inspired by watching DJs streaming live music sets online.

In what must have been music to his parents’ ears, Ace Thompson has gone from being completely non-verbal to not only forming his own sounds, but also to saying the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ for the first time just a few weeks ago.

His remarkable progress has, believes his mum, Sandra Thompson, of Sperling Drive, Haverhill, been down to his love of watching the DJs performing their sets on the Disco Kitchen Facebook group.

Sandra, who lives with husband Daryl, Ace and their two other sons Kyle, 21 and Dax, 10, said: “It it wasn’t for them (Disco Kitchen) I don’t think he would have spoken, I just honestly don’t think he would.”

Ace was born prematurely on May 19, 2016, weighing just four pounds and has, in his short life so far, had numerous health problems.

He has Down’s Syndrome and at 10 months old had to have life-saving heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, and, said Sandra, was ‘fighting for his life’ for 10 months.

Ace Thompson. Submitted photo (44605324)
Ace Thompson. Submitted photo (44605324)

Ace also has delayed learning development and has to have a thickener added to his food and drink to prevent him aspirating.

Without the thickener, the liquid would go straight to his lungs.

His eyesight is also poor and he has for a while been under a speech and language therapist at West Suffolk Hospital.

Sandra explained that until the family began watching the sets played by the DJs at Disco Kitchen (which was formed one year ago by Haverhill DJ Andy Palazon and now has numerous other DJs taking part) last March, they had little hope that Ace would ever make any sounds.

Ace Thompson with mum Sandra, dad Daryl and brother Dax with their Disco Kitchen t-shirts on. Submitted photo
Ace Thompson with mum Sandra, dad Daryl and brother Dax with their Disco Kitchen t-shirts on. Submitted photo

She said: “We said to them (the therapist) he wasn’t doing things that other children are supposed to be doing at his age and we said, ‘will he ever speak’.

“There was absolutely nothing coming out of his mouth and she said ‘if he continues like this until the age of five, it’s very unlikely he will ever talk’.”

That assessment was, said Sandra, ‘quite a shocker’ to hear.

Disco Kitchen founder Andy Palazon (second left) with fellow DJs, from left: Bob Power, Lydia Lee, nine, (holding Andy's Pride of Britain Award), Paul Firman and Alex Webb. Submitted picture
Disco Kitchen founder Andy Palazon (second left) with fellow DJs, from left: Bob Power, Lydia Lee, nine, (holding Andy's Pride of Britain Award), Paul Firman and Alex Webb. Submitted picture

She added: “You hear other kids talking and think will he ever talk and what will he sound like. It’s been quite a struggle with him.

“If you can’t communicate with a child it is the hardest thing because you both get frustrated.

“He takes it out on his brothers and us because he can’t get his words out and he starts throwing things at us.”

The situation for Ace and his family, however, began to change a few weeks after they started watching Disco Kitchen.

Gradually, Ace became more interested in what the DJs were doing, and took a particular shine to the children’s discos played by Steve Hill, under the name DJ Spidey – so-called because he dresses as Spiderman for his sets.

Sandra said: “He would pick toys up and put them near his mouth, but nothing came out of his mouth.

“At Christmas time we bought a karaoke machine.

“From then Ace started producing these sounds and I don’t know why, but every time he had it in his hands I was following him around hoping I would catch something on film.

“Ever since then he was just making sounds. it was unbelievable. Not saying the words, but he was bubbling his own sounds.”

It was when Ace saw the song ‘Baby Shark’ being performed on Disco Kitchen that the big moment arrived. Sandra said:”That’s when we caught him on camera making sounds. At the time it didn’t make sense, but it was incredible.”

And then Ace went on to say the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’, leaving Sandra to reflect: “We never thought he was going to speak.

“He behaviour is not as bad now. he used to throw things.

“It’s going to be a long road but I think we are going to get there and I think he will speak, definitely.

“What Andy and all the guys have done with their time is absolutely amazing and I don’t think he realises what he has done.

“Hopefully one day Ace will be able to thank them himself. That’s the dream, that’s what I am hoping.”

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